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Jingru Dai, Michael J. Manton, Steven T. Siems, and Elizabeth E. Ebert

Abstract

Wintertime precipitation in the Snowy Mountains provides water for agriculture, industry, and domestic use in inland southeastern Australia. Unlike most of Australia, much of this precipitation falls as snow, and it is recorded by a private network of heated tipping-bucket gauges. These observations are used in the present study to assess the accuracy of a poor man’s ensemble (PME) prediction of precipitation in the Snowy Mountains based on seven numerical weather prediction models. While the PME performs quite well, there is significant underestimation of precipitation intensity. It is shown that indicators of the synoptic environment can be used to improve the PME estimates of precipitation. Four synoptic regimes associated with different precipitation classes are identified from upper-air data. The reliability of the PME forecasts can be sharpened by considering the precipitation in each of the four synoptic classes. A linear regression, based on the synoptic classification and the PME estimate, is used to reduce the forecast errors. The potential to extend the method for forecasting purposes is discussed.

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