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Simon C. Peatman
,
Nicholas P. Klingaman
, and
Kevin I. Hodges

Abstract

The tropical west Pacific Ocean and the Philippines are often affected by tropical cyclones (TCs), with threats to human life and of severe economic damage. The performance of the Met Office global operational forecasts at predicting TC-related precipitation is examined between 2006 and 2017, the first time total TC rainfall has been analyzed in a long-term forecast dataset. All precipitation falling within 5° of a TC track point is assumed to be part of the TC rainbands. Forecasts are verified against TC tracks from the JRA-55 reanalysis and precipitation from TRMM 3B42. In composites from the forecasts, the total precipitation (TC and non-TC) is too high and the TC-related precipitation is too low, over both ocean and the Philippines. These biases exist all year-round and generally worsen with lead time, but have improved in recent years with upgrades to the forecasting system. Biases in TC-related precipitation in the Philippines are attributable mainly to TC lifetime being too short over land and ocean and (over land) possibly to individual TCs producing too little rain. There are considerable biases in predicted large-scale conditions related to TC intensification, particularly too little lower-troposphere relative humidity and too strong vertical wind shear. The shear appears to have little impact on the amount of TC precipitation, but dry biases in humidity are consistent with dry biases in TC rainfall. The forecast system accurately reproduces the impact of the MJO on TC precipitation, relative to the forecasts’ own climatology, potentially providing the opportunity for predictability out to several weeks.

Open access