Dynamical Seasonal Prediction

J. Shukla
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J. Anderson
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D. Baumhefner
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C. Brankovic
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Y. Chang
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E. Kalnay
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L. Marx
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T. Palmer
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D. Paolino
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J. Ploshay
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S. Schubert
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D. Straus
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M. Suarez
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J. Tribbia
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Dynamical Seasonal Prediction (DSP) is an informally coordinated multi-institution research project to investigate the predictability of seasonal mean atmospheric circulation and rainfall. The basic idea is to test the feasibility of extending the technology of routine numerical weather prediction beyond the inherent limit of deterministic predictability of weather to produce numerical climate predictions using state-of-the-art global atmospheric models. Atmospheric general circulation models (AGCMs) either forced by predicted sea surface temperature (SST) or as part of a coupled forecast system have shown in the past that certain regions of the extratropics, in particular, the Pacific–North America (PNA) region during Northern Hemisphere winter, can be predicted with significant skill especially during years of large tropical SST anomalies. However, there is still a great deal of uncertainty about how much the details of various AGCMs impact conclusions about extratropical seasonal prediction and predictability.

DSP is designed to compare seasonal simulation and prediction results from five state-of-the-art U.S. modeling groups (NCAR, COLA, GSFC, GFDL, NCEP) in order to assess which aspects of the results are robust and which are model dependent. The initial emphasis is on the predictability of seasonal anomalies over the PNA region. This paper also includes results from the ECMWF model, and historical forecast skill over both the PNA region and the European region is presented for all six models.

It is found that with specified SST boundary conditions, all models show that the winter season mean circulation anomalies over the Pacific–North American region are highly predictable during years of large tropical sea surface temperature anomalies. The influence of large anomalous boundary conditions is so strong and so reproducible that the seasonal mean forecasts can be given with a high degree of confidence. However, the degree of reproducibility is highly variable from one model to the other, and quantities such as the PNA region signal to noise ratio are found to vary significantly between the different AGCMs. It would not be possible to make reliable estimates of predictability of the seasonal mean atmosphere circulation unless causes for such large differences among models are understood.

*Center for Ocean–Land–Atmosphere Studies, Calverton, Maryland.

+Geophysical Fluid Dynamics Laboratory, Princeton, New Jersey.

#National Center for Atmospheric Research, Boulder, Colorado.

@European Centre for Medium-Range Weather Forecasting, Reading, United Kingdom.

&Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, Maryland.

**National Centers for Environmental Prediction, Camp Springs, Maryland.

Corresponding author adress: Prof. J. Shukla, George Mason University, Center for Ocean-Land-Atmosphere Studies, 4041 Powder Mill Rd., Suite 302, Calverton, MD 20705-3106. E-mail: shukla@cola.iges.org

Dynamical Seasonal Prediction (DSP) is an informally coordinated multi-institution research project to investigate the predictability of seasonal mean atmospheric circulation and rainfall. The basic idea is to test the feasibility of extending the technology of routine numerical weather prediction beyond the inherent limit of deterministic predictability of weather to produce numerical climate predictions using state-of-the-art global atmospheric models. Atmospheric general circulation models (AGCMs) either forced by predicted sea surface temperature (SST) or as part of a coupled forecast system have shown in the past that certain regions of the extratropics, in particular, the Pacific–North America (PNA) region during Northern Hemisphere winter, can be predicted with significant skill especially during years of large tropical SST anomalies. However, there is still a great deal of uncertainty about how much the details of various AGCMs impact conclusions about extratropical seasonal prediction and predictability.

DSP is designed to compare seasonal simulation and prediction results from five state-of-the-art U.S. modeling groups (NCAR, COLA, GSFC, GFDL, NCEP) in order to assess which aspects of the results are robust and which are model dependent. The initial emphasis is on the predictability of seasonal anomalies over the PNA region. This paper also includes results from the ECMWF model, and historical forecast skill over both the PNA region and the European region is presented for all six models.

It is found that with specified SST boundary conditions, all models show that the winter season mean circulation anomalies over the Pacific–North American region are highly predictable during years of large tropical sea surface temperature anomalies. The influence of large anomalous boundary conditions is so strong and so reproducible that the seasonal mean forecasts can be given with a high degree of confidence. However, the degree of reproducibility is highly variable from one model to the other, and quantities such as the PNA region signal to noise ratio are found to vary significantly between the different AGCMs. It would not be possible to make reliable estimates of predictability of the seasonal mean atmosphere circulation unless causes for such large differences among models are understood.

*Center for Ocean–Land–Atmosphere Studies, Calverton, Maryland.

+Geophysical Fluid Dynamics Laboratory, Princeton, New Jersey.

#National Center for Atmospheric Research, Boulder, Colorado.

@European Centre for Medium-Range Weather Forecasting, Reading, United Kingdom.

&Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, Maryland.

**National Centers for Environmental Prediction, Camp Springs, Maryland.

Corresponding author adress: Prof. J. Shukla, George Mason University, Center for Ocean-Land-Atmosphere Studies, 4041 Powder Mill Rd., Suite 302, Calverton, MD 20705-3106. E-mail: shukla@cola.iges.org
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