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Andrea Alessandri
,
Andrea Borrelli
,
Antonio Navarra
,
Alberto Arribas
,
Michel Déqué
,
Philippe Rogel
, and
Antje Weisheimer

Abstract

The performance of the new multimodel seasonal prediction system developed in the framework of the European Commission FP7 project called ENSEMBLE-based predictions of climate changes and their impacts (ENSEMBLES) is compared with the results from the previous project [i.e., Development of a European Multimodel Ensemble System for Seasonal-to-Interannual Prediction (DEMETER)]. The comparison is carried out over the five seasonal prediction systems (SPSs) that participated in both projects. Since DEMETER, the contributing SPSs have improved in all aspects with the main advancements including the increase in resolution, the better representation of subgrid physical processes, land, sea ice, and greenhouse gas boundary forcing, and the more widespread use of assimilation for ocean initialization.

The ENSEMBLES results show an overall enhancement for the prediction of anomalous surface temperature conditions. However, the improvement is quite small and with considerable space–time variations. In the tropics, ENSEMBLES systematically improves the sharpness and the discrimination attributes of the forecasts. Enhancements of the ENSEMBLES resolution attribute are also reported in the tropics for the forecasts started 1 February, 1 May, and 1 November. Our results indicate that, in ENSEMBLES, an increased portion of prediction signal from the single-models effectively contributes to amplify the multimodel forecasts skill. On the other hand, a worsening is shown for the multimodel calibration over the tropics compared to DEMETER.

Significant changes are also shown in northern midlatitudes, where the ENSEMBLES multimodel discrimination, resolution, and reliability improve for February, May, and November starting dates. However, the ENSEMBLES multimodel decreases the capability to amplify the performance with respect to the contributing single models for the forecasts started in February, May, and August. This is at least partly due to the reduced overconfidence of the ENSEMBLES single models with respect to the DEMETER counterparts.

Provided that they are suitably calibrated beforehand, it is shown that the ENSEMBLES multimodel forecasts represent a step forward for the potential economical value they can supply. A warning for all potential users concerns the need for calibration due to the degraded tropical reliability compared to DEMETER. In addition, the superiority of recalibrating the ENSEMBLES predictions through the discrimination information is shown.

Concerning the forecasts started in August, ENSEMBLES exhibits mixed results over both tropics and northern midlatitudes. In this case, the increased potential predictability compared to DEMETER appears to be balanced by the reduction in the independence of the SPSs contributing to ENSEMBLES. Consequently, for the August start dates no clear advantage of using one multimodel system instead of the other can be evidenced.

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Andrea Alessandri
,
Andrea Borrelli
,
Annalisa Cherchi
,
Stefano Materia
,
Antonio Navarra
,
June-Yi Lee
, and
Bin Wang

Abstract

Ensembles of retrospective 2-month dynamical forecasts initiated on 1 May are used to predict the onset of the Indian summer monsoon (ISM) for the period 1989–2005. The subseasonal predictions (SSPs) are based on a coupled general circulation model and recently they have been upgraded by the realistic initialization of the atmosphere with initial conditions taken from reanalysis. Two objective large-scale methods based on dynamical-circulation and hydrological indices are applied to detect the ISM onset. The SSPs show some skill in forecasting earlier-than-normal ISM onsets, while they have difficulty in predicting late onsets. It is shown that significant contribution to the skill in forecasting early ISM onsets comes from the newly developed initialization of the atmosphere from reanalysis. On one hand, atmospheric initialization produces a better representation of the atmospheric mean state in the initial conditions, leading to a systematically improved monsoon onset sequence. On the other hand, the initialization of the atmosphere allows some skill in forecasting the northward-propagating intraseasonal wind and precipitation anomalies over the tropical Indian Ocean. The northward-propagating intraseasonal modes trigger the monsoon in some early-onset years. The realistic phase initialization of these modes improves the forecasts of the associated earlier-than-normal monsoon onsets. The prediction of late onsets is not noticeably improved by the initialization of the atmosphere. It is suggested that late onsets of the monsoon are too far away from the start date of the forecasts to conserve enough memory of the intraseasonal oscillation (ISO) anomalies and of the improved representation of the mean state in the initial conditions.

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Andrea Alessandri
,
Andrea Borrelli
,
Simona Masina
,
Annalisa Cherchi
,
Silvio Gualdi
,
Antonio Navarra
,
Pierluigi Di Pietro
, and
Andrea F. Carril

Abstract

The development of the Istituto Nazionale di Geofisica e Vulcanologia (INGV)–Centro Euro-Mediterraneo per i Cambiamenti Climatici (CMCC) Seasonal Prediction System (SPS) is documented. In this SPS the ocean initial-conditions estimation includes a reduced-order optimal interpolation procedure for the assimilation of temperature and salinity profiles at the global scale. Nine-member ensemble forecasts have been produced for the period 1991–2003 for two starting dates per year in order to assess the impact of the subsurface assimilation in the ocean for initialization. Comparing the results with control simulations (i.e., without assimilation of subsurface profiles during ocean initialization), it is shown that the improved ocean initialization increases the skill in the prediction of tropical Pacific sea surface temperatures of the system for boreal winter forecasts. Considering the forecast of the 1997/98 El Niño, the data assimilation in the ocean initial conditions leads to a considerable improvement in the representation of its onset and development. The results presented in this paper indicate a better prediction of global-scale surface climate anomalies for the forecasts started in November, probably because of the improvement in the tropical Pacific. For boreal winter, significant increases in the capability of the system to discriminate above-normal and below-normal temperature anomalies are shown in both the tropics and extratropics.

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