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Hui Wang
,
Jae-Kyung E. Schemm
,
Arun Kumar
,
Wanqiu Wang
,
Lindsey Long
,
Muthuvel Chelliah
,
Gerald D. Bell
, and
Peitao Peng

Abstract

A hybrid dynamical–statistical model is developed for predicting Atlantic seasonal hurricane activity. The model is built upon the empirical relationship between the observed interannual variability of hurricanes and the variability of sea surface temperatures (SSTs) and vertical wind shear in 26-yr (1981–2006) hindcasts from the National Centers for Environmental Prediction (NCEP) Climate Forecast System (CFS).

The number of Atlantic hurricanes exhibits large year-to-year fluctuations and an upward trend over the 26 yr. The latter is characterized by an inactive period prior to 1995 and an active period afterward. The interannual variability of the Atlantic hurricanes significantly correlates with the CFS hindcasts for August–October (ASO) SSTs and vertical wind shear in the tropical Pacific and tropical North Atlantic where CFS also displays skillful forecasts for the two variables. In contrast, the hurricane trend shows less of a correlation to the CFS-predicted SSTs and vertical wind shear in the two tropical regions. Instead, it strongly correlates with observed preseason SSTs in the far North Atlantic. Based on these results, three potential predictors for the interannual variation of seasonal hurricane activity are constructed by averaging SSTs over the tropical Pacific (TPCF; 5°S–5°N, 170°E–130°W) and the Atlantic hurricane main development region (MDR; 10°–20°N, 20°–80°W), respectively, and vertical wind shear over the MDR, all of which are from the CFS dynamical forecasts for the ASO season. In addition, two methodologies are proposed to better represent the long-term trend in the number of hurricanes. One is the use of observed preseason SSTs in the North Atlantic (NATL; 55°–65°N, 30°–60°W) as a predictor for the hurricane trend, and the other is the use of a step function that breaks up the hurricane climatology into a generally inactive period (1981–94) and a very active period (1995–2006). The combination of the three predictors for the interannual variation, along with the two methodologies for the trend, is explored in developing an empirical forecast system for Atlantic hurricanes.

A cross validation of the hindcasts for the 1981–2006 hurricane seasons suggests that the seasonal hurricane forecast with the TPCF SST as the only CFS predictor is more skillful in inactive hurricane seasons, while the forecast with only the MDR SST is more skillful in active seasons. The forecast using both predictors gives better results. The most skillful forecast uses the MDR vertical wind shear as the only CFS predictor. A comparison with forecasts made by other statistical models over the 2002–07 seasons indicates that this hybrid dynamical–statistical forecast model is competitive with the current statistical forecast models.

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Masao Kanamitsu
,
Arun Kumar
,
Hann-Ming Henry Juang
,
Jae-Kyung Schemm
,
Wanqui Wang
,
Fanglin Yang
,
Song-You Hong
,
Peitao Peng
,
Wilber Chen
,
Shrinivas Moorthi
, and
Ming Ji

The new National Centers for Environmental Prediction (NCEP) numerical seasonal forecast system is described in detail. The new system is aimed at a next-generation numerical seasonal prediction in which focus is placed on land processes, initial conditions, and ensemble methods, in addition to the tropical SST forcing. The atmospheric model physics is taken from the NCEP–National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR) reanalysis model, which has more comprehensive land hydrology and improved physical processes. The model was further upgraded by introducing three new parameterization schemes: 1) the relaxed Arakawa–Schubert (RAS) convective parameterization, which improved middle latitude response to tropical heating; 2) Chou's shortwave radiation, which corrected surface radiation fluxes; and 3) Chou's longwave radiation scheme together with smoothed mean orography that reduced model warm bias. Atmospheric initial conditions were taken from the operational NCEP Global Data Assimilation System, allowing the seasonal forecast to start from realistic initial conditions and to seamlessly connect with the short- and medium-range forecasts. The Pacific basin ocean model is the same as that in the old NCEP seasonal system and is coupled to the new atmospheric model with a two-tier approach. The operational atmospheric forecast is performed once a month with a 20-member ensemble. Prior to the forecast, 10-member ensemble hindcasts of the same month from 1979 to the present are performed to define model climatology and model forecast skill. The system has been running routinely since April 2000, and the products are available online at NWS's ftp site.

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Akila Sampath
,
Uma S. Bhatt
,
Peter A. Bieniek
,
Robert Ziel
,
Alison York
,
Heidi Strader
,
Sharon Alden
,
Richard Thoman
,
Brian Brettschneider
,
Eugene Petrescu
,
Peitao Peng
, and
Sarah Mitchell

Abstract

In this study, seasonal forecasts from the National Centers for Environmental Prediction (NCEP) Climate Forecast System, version 2 (CFSv2), are compared with station observations to assess their usefulness in producing accurate buildup index (BUI) forecasts for the fire season in Interior Alaska. These comparisons indicate that the CFSv2 June–July–August (JJA) climatology (1994–2017) produces negatively biased BUI forecasts because of negative temperature and positive precipitation biases. With quantile mapping (QM) correction, the temperature and precipitation forecasts better match the observations. The long-term JJA mean BUI improves from 12 to 42 when computed using the QM-corrected forecasts. Further postprocessing of the QM-corrected BUI forecasts using the quartile classification method shows anomalously high values for the 2004 fire season, which was the worst on record in terms of the area burned by wildfires. These results suggest that the QM-corrected CFSv2 forecasts can be used to predict extreme fire events. An assessment of the classified BUI ensemble members at the subseasonal scale shows that persistently occurring BUI forecasts exceeding 150 in the cumulative drought season can be used as an indicator that extreme fire events will occur during the upcoming season. This study demonstrates the ability of QM-corrected CFSv2 forecasts to predict the potential fire season in advance. This information could, therefore, assist fire managers in resource allocation and disaster response preparedness.

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Rongqing Han
,
Hui Wang
,
Zeng-Zhen Hu
,
Arun Kumar
,
Weijing Li
,
Lindsey N. Long
,
Jae-Kyung E. Schemm
,
Peitao Peng
,
Wanqiu Wang
,
Dong Si
,
Xiaolong Jia
,
Ming Zhao
,
Gabriel A. Vecchi
,
Timothy E. LaRow
,
Young-Kwon Lim
,
Siegfried D. Schubert
,
Suzana J. Camargo
,
Naomi Henderson
,
Jeffrey A. Jonas
, and
Kevin J. E. Walsh

Abstract

An assessment of simulations of the interannual variability of tropical cyclones (TCs) over the western North Pacific (WNP) and its association with El Niño–Southern Oscillation (ENSO), as well as a subsequent diagnosis for possible causes of model biases generated from simulated large-scale climate conditions, are documented in the paper. The model experiments are carried out by the Hurricane Work Group under the U.S. Climate Variability and Predictability Research Program (CLIVAR) using five global climate models (GCMs) with a total of 16 ensemble members forced by the observed sea surface temperature and spanning the 28-yr period from 1982 to 2009. The results show GISS and GFDL model ensemble means best simulate the interannual variability of TCs, and the multimodel ensemble mean (MME) follows. Also, the MME has the closest climate mean annual number of WNP TCs and the smallest root-mean-square error to the observation.

Most GCMs can simulate the interannual variability of WNP TCs well, with stronger TC activities during two types of El Niño—namely, eastern Pacific (EP) and central Pacific (CP) El Niño—and weaker activity during La Niña. However, none of the models capture the differences in TC activity between EP and CP El Niño as are shown in observations. The inability of models to distinguish the differences in TC activities between the two types of El Niño events may be due to the bias of the models in response to the shift of tropical heating associated with CP El Niño.

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Ben P. Kirtman
,
Dughong Min
,
Johnna M. Infanti
,
James L. Kinter III
,
Daniel A. Paolino
,
Qin Zhang
,
Huug van den Dool
,
Suranjana Saha
,
Malaquias Pena Mendez
,
Emily Becker
,
Peitao Peng
,
Patrick Tripp
,
Jin Huang
,
David G. DeWitt
,
Michael K. Tippett
,
Anthony G. Barnston
,
Shuhua Li
,
Anthony Rosati
,
Siegfried D. Schubert
,
Michele Rienecker
,
Max Suarez
,
Zhao E. Li
,
Jelena Marshak
,
Young-Kwon Lim
,
Joseph Tribbia
,
Kathleen Pegion
,
William J. Merryfield
,
Bertrand Denis
, and
Eric F. Wood

The recent U.S. National Academies report, Assessment of Intraseasonal to Interannual Climate Prediction and Predictability, was unequivocal in recommending the need for the development of a North American Multimodel Ensemble (NMME) operational predictive capability. Indeed, this effort is required to meet the specific tailored regional prediction and decision support needs of a large community of climate information users.

The multimodel ensemble approach has proven extremely effective at quantifying prediction uncertainty due to uncertainty in model formulation and has proven to produce better prediction quality (on average) than any single model ensemble. This multimodel approach is the basis for several international collaborative prediction research efforts and an operational European system, and there are numerous examples of how this multimodel ensemble approach yields superior forecasts compared to any single model.

Based on two NOAA Climate Test bed (CTB) NMME workshops (18 February and 8 April 2011), a collaborative and coordinated implementation strategy for a NMME prediction system has been developed and is currently delivering real-time seasonal-to-interannual predictions on the NOAA Climate Prediction Center (CPC) operational schedule. The hindcast and real-time prediction data are readily available (e.g., http://iridl.ldeo.columbia.edu/SOURCES/.Models/.NMME/) and in graphical format from CPC (www.cpc.ncep.noaa.gov/products/NMME/). Moreover, the NMME forecast is already currently being used as guidance for operational forecasters. This paper describes the new NMME effort, and presents an overview of the multimodel forecast quality and the complementary skill associated with individual models.

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