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Enhanced seasonal forecast skill following stratospheric sudden warmings

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Sigmond, M., Scinocca, J. F., Kharin, V. V. and Shepherd, T. G. (2013) Enhanced seasonal forecast skill following stratospheric sudden warmings. Nature Geoscience, 6 (2). pp. 98-102. ISSN 1752-0908

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To link to this article DOI: 10.1038/NGEO1698

Abstract/Summary

Advances in seasonal forecasting have brought widespread socio-economic benefits. However, seasonal forecast skill in the extratropics is relatively modest, prompting the seasonal forecasting community to search for additional sources of predictability. For over a decade it has been suggested that knowledge of the state of the stratosphere can act as a source of enhanced seasonal predictability; long-lived circulation anomalies in the lower stratosphere that follow stratospheric sudden warmings are associated with circulation anomalies in the troposphere that can last up to two months. Here, we show by performing retrospective ensemble model forecasts that such enhanced predictability can be realized in a dynamical seasonal forecast system with a good representation of the stratosphere. When initialized at the onset date of stratospheric sudden warmings, the model forecasts faithfully reproduce the observed mean tropospheric conditions in the months following the stratospheric sudden warmings. Compared with an equivalent set of forecasts that are not initialized during stratospheric sudden warmings, we document enhanced forecast skill for atmospheric circulation patterns, surface temperatures over northern Russia and eastern Canada and North Atlantic precipitation. We suggest that seasonal forecast systems initialized during stratospheric sudden warmings are likely to yield significantly greater forecast skill in some regions.

Item Type:Article
Refereed:Yes
Divisions:Faculty of Science > School of Mathematical and Physical Sciences > Department of Meteorology
ID Code:30624
Publisher:Nature Publishing

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