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ECMWF extreme forecast index for water vapor transport: a forecast tool for atmospheric rivers and extreme precipitation

Lavers, D. A. ORCID:, Pappenberger, F. ORCID:, Richardson, D. S. and Zsoter, E. (2016) ECMWF extreme forecast index for water vapor transport: a forecast tool for atmospheric rivers and extreme precipitation. Geophysical Research Letters, 43 (22). pp. 11852-11858. ISSN 0094-8276

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To link to this item DOI: 10.1002/2016GL071320


In winter, heavy precipitation and floods along the west coasts of midlatitude continents are largely caused by intense water vapor transport (integrated vapor transport (IVT)) within the atmospheric river of extratropical cyclones. This study builds on previous findings that showed that forecasts of IVT have higher predictability than precipitation, by applying and evaluating the European Centre for Medium-Range Weather Forecasts Extreme Forecast Index (EFI) for IVT in ensemble forecasts during three winters across Europe. We show that the IVT EFI is more able (than the precipitation EFI) to capture extreme precipitation in forecast week 2 during forecasts initialized in a positive North Atlantic Oscillation (NAO) phase; conversely, the precipitation EFI is better during the negative NAO phase and at shorter leads. An IVT EFI example for storm Desmond in December 2015 highlights its potential to identify upcoming hydrometeorological extremes, which may prove useful to the user and forecasting communities.

Item Type:Article
Divisions:No Reading authors. Back catalogue items
Science > School of Archaeology, Geography and Environmental Science > Department of Geography and Environmental Science
Science > School of Mathematical, Physical and Computational Sciences > Department of Meteorology
ID Code:106884
Publisher:American Geophysical Union


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