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  • Author or Editor: David P. Baumhefner x
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Richard A. Anthes
David P. Baumhefner

In operational numerical weather prediction systems, both observations and numerical models contribute to the skill of the forecast. A simple diagram representing the relative contributions of observations and models to the current level of forecast skill and to the ultimate predictability of atmospheric phenomena is interpreted in this note. The forecast skill of 500 mb heights and an estimate of the ultimate predictability of this variable are used in a quantitative illustration of the diagram.

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Thomas W. Bettge
David P. Baumhefner
, and
Robert M. Chervin

Readily available forecasts of winter season temperature anomalies for the continental United States are analyzed and compared to the observed anomalies for each of the past five winter seasons. Forecast skill is evaluated by different verification methodologies, and it is shown that a judgment of skill can be dependent on the particular verification technique employed. Verification in terms of principal components is shown to be a useful diagnostic aid, in that it allows for the recognition of naturally occurring temperature anomaly patterns in the atmosphere. Other general issues concerning the current state of seasonal climate forecasting also are discussed as they relate to the question of verification strategies.

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