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Mio Matsueda, Masayuki Kyouda, Zoltan Toth, H. L. Tanaka, and Tadashi Tsuyuki


Atmospheric blocking occurred over the Rocky Mountains at 1200 UTC 15 December 2005. The operational medium-range ensemble forecasts of the Canadian Meteorological Center (CMC), the Japan Meteorological Agency (JMA), and the National Centers for Environmental Prediction (NCEP), as initialized at 1200 UTC 10 December 2005, showed remarkable differences regarding this event. All of the NCEP members failed to predict the correct location of the blocking, whereas almost all of the JMA members and most of the CMC members were successful in predicting the correct location. The present study investigated the factors that caused NCEP to incorrectly predict the blocking location, based on an ensemble-based sensitivity analysis and the JMA global spectral model (GSM) multianalysis ensemble forecasts with NCEP, regionally amplified NCEP, and globally amplified NCEP analyses.

A sensitive area for the blocking formation was detected over the central North Pacific. In this area, the NCEP control analysis experienced problems in the handling of a cutoff cyclone, and the NCEP initial perturbations were ineffective in reducing uncertainties in the NCEP control analysis. The JMA GSM multianalysis ensemble forecasts revealed that regional amplification of initial perturbations over the sensitive area could lead to further improvements in forecasts over the blocking region without degradation of forecasts over the Northern Hemisphere (NH), whereas the global amplification of initial perturbations could lead to improved forecasts over the blocking region and degraded forecasts over the NH. This finding may suggest that excessive amplification of initial perturbations over nonsensitive areas is undesirable, and that case-dependent rescaling of initial perturbations may be of value compared with climatology-based rescaling, which is widely used in current operational ensemble prediction systems.

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Munehiko Yamaguchi, Frédéric Vitart, Simon T. K. Lang, Linus Magnusson, Russell L. Elsberry, Grant Elliott, Masayuki Kyouda, and Tetsuo Nakazawa


Operational global medium-range ensemble forecasts of tropical cyclone (TC) activity (genesis plus the subsequent track) are systematically evaluated to understand the skill of the state-of-the-art ensembles in forecasting TC activity as well as the relative benefits of a multicenter grand ensemble with respect to a single-model ensemble. The global ECMWF, JMA, NCEP, and UKMO ensembles are evaluated from 2010 to 2013 in seven TC basins around the world. The verification metric is the Brier skill score (BSS), which is calculated within a 3-day time window over a forecast length of 2 weeks to examine the skill from short- to medium-range time scales (0–14 days). These operational global medium-range ensembles are capable of providing guidance on TC activity forecasts that extends into week 2. Multicenter grand ensembles (MCGEs) tend to have better forecast skill (larger BSSs) than does the best single-model ensemble, which is the ECMWF ensemble in most verification time windows and most TC basins. The relative benefit of the MCGEs is relatively large in the north Indian Ocean and TC basins in the Southern Hemisphere where the BSS of the single-model ensemble is relatively small. The BSS metric and the reliability are found to be sensitive to the choice of threshold wind values that are used to define the model TCs.

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Richard Swinbank, Masayuki Kyouda, Piers Buchanan, Lizzie Froude, Thomas M. Hamill, Tim D. Hewson, Julia H. Keller, Mio Matsueda, John Methven, Florian Pappenberger, Michael Scheuerer, Helen A. Titley, Laurence Wilson, and Munehiko Yamaguchi


The International Grand Global Ensemble (TIGGE) was a major component of The Observing System Research and Predictability Experiment (THORPEX) research program, whose aim is to accelerate improvements in forecasting high-impact weather. By providing ensemble prediction data from leading operational forecast centers, TIGGE has enhanced collaboration between the research and operational meteorological communities and enabled research studies on a wide range of topics.

The paper covers the objective evaluation of the TIGGE data. For a range of forecast parameters, it is shown to be beneficial to combine ensembles from several data providers in a multimodel grand ensemble. Alternative methods to correct systematic errors, including the use of reforecast data, are also discussed.

TIGGE data have been used for a range of research studies on predictability and dynamical processes. Tropical cyclones are the most destructive weather systems in the world and are a focus of multimodel ensemble research. Their extratropical transition also has a major impact on the skill of midlatitude forecasts. We also review how TIGGE has added to our understanding of the dynamics of extratropical cyclones and storm tracks.

Although TIGGE is a research project, it has proved invaluable for the development of products for future operational forecasting. Examples include the forecasting of tropical cyclone tracks, heavy rainfall, strong winds, and flood prediction through coupling hydrological models to ensembles.

Finally, the paper considers the legacy of TIGGE. We discuss the priorities and key issues in predictability and ensemble forecasting, including the new opportunities of convective-scale ensembles, links with ensemble data assimilation methods, and extension of the range of useful forecast skill.

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