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Arlan Dirkson
,
Bertrand Denis
,
Michael Sigmond
, and
William J. Merryfield

Abstract

Dynamical forecasting systems are being used to skillfully predict deterministic ice-free and freeze-up date events in the Arctic. This paper extends such forecasts to a probabilistic framework and tests two calibration models to correct systematic biases and improve the statistical reliability of the event dates: trend-adjusted quantile mapping (TAQM) and nonhomogeneous censored Gaussian regression (NCGR). TAQM is a probability distribution mapping method that corrects the forecast for climatological biases, whereas NCGR relates the calibrated parametric forecast distribution to the raw ensemble forecast through a regression model framework. For NCGR, the observed event trend and ensemble-mean event date are used to predict the central tendency of the predictive distribution. For modeling forecast uncertainty, we find that the ensemble-mean event date, which is related to forecast lead time, performs better than the ensemble variance itself. Using a multidecadal hindcast record from the Canadian Seasonal to Interannual Prediction System (CanSIPS), TAQM and NCGR are applied to produce categorical forecasts quantifying the probabilities for early, normal, and late ice retreat and advance. While TAQM performs better than adjusting the raw forecast for mean and linear trend bias, NCGR is shown to outperform TAQM in terms of reliability, skill, and an improved tendency for forecast probabilities to be no worse than climatology. Testing various cross-validation setups, we find that NCGR remains useful when shorter hindcast records (~20 years) are available. By applying NCGR to operational forecasts, stakeholders can be more confident in using seasonal forecasts of sea ice event timing for planning purposes.

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Hai Lin
,
William J. Merryfield
,
Ryan Muncaster
,
Gregory C. Smith
,
Marko Markovic
,
Frédéric Dupont
,
François Roy
,
Jean-François Lemieux
,
Arlan Dirkson
,
Viatcheslav V. Kharin
,
Woo-Sung Lee
,
Martin Charron
, and
Amin Erfani

Abstract

The second version of the Canadian Seasonal to Interannual Prediction System (CanSIPSv2) was implemented operationally at Environment and Climate Change Canada (ECCC) in July 2019. Like its predecessors, CanSIPSv2 applies a multimodel ensemble approach with two coupled atmosphere–ocean models, CanCM4i and GEM-NEMO. While CanCM4i is a climate model, which is upgraded from CanCM4 of the previous CanSIPSv1 with improved sea ice initialization, GEM-NEMO is a newly developed numerical weather prediction (NWP)-based global atmosphere–ocean coupled model. In this paper, CanSIPSv2 is introduced, and its performance is assessed based on the reforecast of 30 years from 1981 to 2010, with 10 ensemble members of 12-month integrations for each model. Ensemble seasonal forecast skill of 2-m air temperature, 500-hPa geopotential height, precipitation rate, sea surface temperature, and sea ice concentration is assessed. Verification is also performed for the Niño-3.4, the Pacific–North American pattern (PNA), the North Atlantic Oscillation (NAO), and the Madden–Julian oscillation (MJO) indices. It is found that CanSIPSv2 outperforms the previous CanSIPSv1 system in many aspects. Atmospheric teleconnections associated with the El Niño–Southern Oscillation (ENSO) are reasonably well captured by the two CanSIPSv2 models, and a large part of the seasonal forecast skill in boreal winter can be attributed to the ENSO impact. The two models are also able to simulate the Northern Hemisphere teleconnection associated with the tropical MJO, which likely provides another source of skill on the subseasonal to seasonal time scale.

Open access