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The Skill of ECMWF Medium-Range Forecasts during the Year of Tropical Convection 2008

Chakraborty, Arindam (2010) The Skill of ECMWF Medium-Range Forecasts during the Year of Tropical Convection 2008. In: Monthly Weather Review, 138 (10). pp. 3787-3805.

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Abstract

This study uses the European Centre for Medium-Range Weather Forecasts (ECMWF) model-generated high-resolution 10-day-long predictions for the Year of Tropical Convection (YOTC) 2008. Precipitation forecast skills of the model over the tropics are evaluated against the Tropical Rainfall Measuring Mission (TRMM) estimates. It has been shown that the model was able to capture the monthly to seasonal mean features of tropical convection reasonably. Northward propagation of convective bands over the Bay of Bengal was also forecasted realistically up to 5 days in advance, including the onset phase of the monsoon during the first half of June 2008. However, large errors exist in the daily datasets especially for longer lead times over smaller domains. For shorter lead times (less than 4-5 days), forecast errors are much smaller over the oceans than over land. Moreover, the rate of increase of errors with lead time is rapid over the oceans and is confined to the regions where observed precipitation shows large day-to-day variability. It has been shown that this rapid growth of errors over the oceans is related to the spatial pattern of near-surface air temperature. This is probably due to the one-way air-sea interaction in the atmosphere-only model used for forecasting. While the prescribed surface temperature over the oceans remain realistic at shorter lead times, the pattern and hence the gradient of the surface temperature is not altered with change in atmospheric parameters at longer lead times. It has also been shown that the ECMWF model had considerable difficulties in forecasting very low and very heavy intensity of precipitation over South Asia. The model has too few grids with ``zero'' precipitation and heavy (>40 mm day(-1)) precipitation. On the other hand, drizzle-like precipitation is too frequent in the model compared to that in the TRMM datasets. Further analysis shows that a major source of error in the ECMWF precipitation forecasts is the diurnal cycle over the South Asian monsoon region. The peak intensity of precipitation in the model forecasts over land (ocean) appear about 6 (9) h earlier than that in the observations. Moreover, the amplitude of the diurnal cycle is much higher in the model forecasts compared to that in the TRMM estimates. It has been seen that the phase error of the diurnal cycle increases with forecast lead time. The error in monthly mean 3-hourly precipitation forecasts is about 2-4 times of the error in the daily mean datasets. Thus, effort should be given to improve the phase and amplitude forecast of the diurnal cycle of precipitation from the model.

Item Type: Journal Article
Additional Information: Copyright of this article belongs to American Meterological Society.
Department/Centre: Division of Earth and Environmental Sciences > Divecha Centre for Climate Change
Division of Mechanical Sciences > Centre for Atmospheric & Oceanic Sciences
Date Deposited: 11 Nov 2010 10:47
Last Modified: 11 Nov 2010 11:34
URI: http://eprints.iisc.ernet.in/id/eprint/33649

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