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John E. Janowiak, Peter Bauer, Wanqiu Wang, Phillip A. Arkin, and Jon Gottschalck

semblance of MJO-related variations in precipitation forecasts out to 15 days. Today, with the advantage of model improvements, advances in data assimilation systems, and ocean–atmosphere coupling in some models, the following question comes to mind: How do present-day model forecasts perform? After all, much better information about oceanic precipitation is available in the present-day compared to what was available when the studies referred to earlier were conducted. More accurate estimates of

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Thomas M. Hamill, Jeffrey S. Whitaker, Michael Fiorino, and Stanley G. Benjamin

, especially the larger ones, and the interaction of the vortex with the steering flow may be handled more accurately. Concerning advanced data assimilation methods, four-dimensional variational data assimilation (4D-Var; Le Dimet and Talagrand 1986 ; Courtier et al. 1994 ; Rabier et al. 2000 ; Rawlins et al. 2007 ) has been a standard method for data assimilation at many operational centers worldwide. However, the typical 4D-Var does not directly produce an ensemble of initial conditions that

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