The Role of Initial Uncertainties in Predicion

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  • 1 Dept. of Meteorology and Oceanography, The University of Michigan, Ann Arbor
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Abstract

When the initial values, or the parameters, of prognostic equations are not known with certainty, there must also be errors in the solution. The initial conditions may be represented by an ensemble, each member of which is consistent with all available knowledge. The mean of this ensemble is a reasonable "best" solution to the prognostic equation. Following Gleeson, we have examined the behavior of the error in the forecast, as represented by the rms deviation of the ensemble members from their mean, for a few simple equations. We have further examined the time-dependent behavior of the ensemble mean, as opposed to the solution obtained by applying the prognostic equation to the original mean values. These are, in general, different. It is concluded that optimum procedures for forecasting, i.e., solving prognostic equations, require includingterms in the equations to represent the influence of the initial uncertainties. Since the nature of these uncertainties may also have profound influences on the error of the forecast, this aspect, too, must be taken into consideration.

Abstract

When the initial values, or the parameters, of prognostic equations are not known with certainty, there must also be errors in the solution. The initial conditions may be represented by an ensemble, each member of which is consistent with all available knowledge. The mean of this ensemble is a reasonable "best" solution to the prognostic equation. Following Gleeson, we have examined the behavior of the error in the forecast, as represented by the rms deviation of the ensemble members from their mean, for a few simple equations. We have further examined the time-dependent behavior of the ensemble mean, as opposed to the solution obtained by applying the prognostic equation to the original mean values. These are, in general, different. It is concluded that optimum procedures for forecasting, i.e., solving prognostic equations, require includingterms in the equations to represent the influence of the initial uncertainties. Since the nature of these uncertainties may also have profound influences on the error of the forecast, this aspect, too, must be taken into consideration.

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