On the skill of raw and post-processed ensemble seasonal meteorological forecasts in Denmark

Lucatero, Diana; Madsen, Henrik; Refsgaard, Jens C.; Kidmose, Jacob; Jensen, Karsten H.

This study analyzes the quality of the raw and post-processed seasonal forecasts of the European Centre for Medium-Range Weather Forecasts (ECMWF) System 4. The focus is given to Denmark, located in a region where seasonal forecasting is of special difficulty. The extent to which there are improvements after post-processing is investigated. We make use of two techniques, namely linear scaling or delta change (LS) and quantile mapping (QM), to daily bias correct seasonal ensemble predictions of hydrologically relevant variables such as precipitation, temperature and reference evapotranspiration (inline-formulaET0). Qualities of importance in this study are the reduction of bias and the improvement in accuracy and sharpness over ensemble climatology. Statistical consistency and its improvement is also examined. Raw forecasts exhibit biases in the mean that have a spatiotemporal variability more pronounced for precipitation and temperature. This variability is more stable for inline-formulaET0 with a consistent positive bias. Accuracy is higher than ensemble climatology for some months at the first month lead time only and, in general, ECMWF System 4 forecasts tend to be sharper. inline-formulaET0 also exhibits an underdispersion issue, i.e., forecasts are narrower than their true uncertainty level. After correction, reductions in the mean are seen. This, however, is not enough to ensure an overall higher level of skill in terms of accuracy, although modest improvements are seen for temperature and inline-formulaET0, mainly at the first month lead time. QM is better suited to improve statistical consistency of forecasts that exhibit dispersion issues, i.e., when forecasts are consistently overconfident. Furthermore, it also enhances the accuracy of the monthly number of dry days to a higher extent than LS. Caution is advised when applying a multiplicative factor to bias correct variables such as precipitation. It may overestimate the ability that LS has in improving sharpness when a positive bias in the mean exists.

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Lucatero, Diana / Madsen, Henrik / Refsgaard, Jens C. / et al: On the skill of raw and post-processed ensemble seasonal meteorological forecasts in Denmark. 2018. Copernicus Publications.

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