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Katherine E. Lukens and Ernesto Hugo Berbery

Abstract

This article examines to what extent the NCEP Climate Forecast System (CFS) weeks 3–4 reforecasts reproduce the CFS Reanalysis (CFSR) storm-track properties, and if so, whether the storm-track behavior can contribute to the prediction of related winter weather in North America. The storm tracks are described by objectively tracking isentropic potential vorticity (PV) anomalies for two periods (base, 1983–2002; validation, 2003–10) to assess their value in a more realistic forecast mode. Statistically significant positive PV biases are found in the storm-track reforecasts. Removal of systematic errors is found to improve general storm-track features. CFSR and Reforecast (CFSRR) reproduces well the observed intensity and spatial distributions of storm-track-related near-surface winds, with small yet significant biases found in the storm-track regions. Removal of the mean wind bias further reduces the error on average by 12%. The spatial distributions of the reforecast precipitation correspond well with the reanalysis, although significant positive biases are found across the contiguous United States. Removal of the precipitation bias reduces the error on average by 25%. The bias-corrected fields better depict the observed variability and exhibit additional improvements in the representation of winter weather associated with strong-storm tracks (the storms with more intense PV). Additionally, the reforecasts reproduce the characteristic intensity and frequency of hazardous strong-storm winds. The findings suggest a potential use of storm-track statistics in the advancement of subseasonal-to-seasonal weather prediction in North America.

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