Prediction Experiments with Two-Member Ensembles

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  • 1 Recherche en prévision numérique, Service de l'environnement atmosphérique du Canada, Dorvat Quebec, Canada
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Abstract

Numerical experiments have been performed to determine whether it is possible to improve the quality of atmospheric forecasts by using the average of two predictions starting from slightly perturbed initial conditions. The predictions are made with a T21 quasi-nondivergent three-level model and a “perfect model” approach is used, so that all prediction errors are due to the uncertainty in the initial conditions. The two perturbed predictions are initialized by adding to and subtracting from the control initial state a small-amplitude disturbance called a “bred” mode, obtained as the fastest-growing small-amplitude perturbation of the model over a 20-day period preceding the beginning of the forecast.

The results indicate that for initial states that contain very small analysis errors the two-member ensemble yields a mean forecast of lower quality than the control forecast. For larger-amplitude analysis error fields, however, the ensemble prediction outperforms the control forecast. When a statistical distribution of possible analysis errors is considered, it is found that on average the mean of the two perturbed predictions is of higher quality than the control forecast.

The study has also shown that the spread between the two perturbed predictions is correlated with the magnitude of the forecast error for every day of the forecast period from day 1 to day 10.

The same approach has been applied to Lorenz's three-component model and similar results have been obtained.

Abstract

Numerical experiments have been performed to determine whether it is possible to improve the quality of atmospheric forecasts by using the average of two predictions starting from slightly perturbed initial conditions. The predictions are made with a T21 quasi-nondivergent three-level model and a “perfect model” approach is used, so that all prediction errors are due to the uncertainty in the initial conditions. The two perturbed predictions are initialized by adding to and subtracting from the control initial state a small-amplitude disturbance called a “bred” mode, obtained as the fastest-growing small-amplitude perturbation of the model over a 20-day period preceding the beginning of the forecast.

The results indicate that for initial states that contain very small analysis errors the two-member ensemble yields a mean forecast of lower quality than the control forecast. For larger-amplitude analysis error fields, however, the ensemble prediction outperforms the control forecast. When a statistical distribution of possible analysis errors is considered, it is found that on average the mean of the two perturbed predictions is of higher quality than the control forecast.

The study has also shown that the spread between the two perturbed predictions is correlated with the magnitude of the forecast error for every day of the forecast period from day 1 to day 10.

The same approach has been applied to Lorenz's three-component model and similar results have been obtained.

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