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A note on atmospheric predictability

Bengtsson, L. and Hodges, K. I. (2006) A note on atmospheric predictability. Tellus Series A: Dynamic Meteorology and Oceanography, 58 (1). pp. 154-157. ISSN 0280-6495

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To link to this item DOI: 10.1111/j.1600-0870.2006.00156.x


Using the method of Lorenz (1982), we have estimated the predictability of a recent version of the European Center for Medium-Range Weather Forecasting (ECMWF) model using two different estimates of the initial error corresponding to 6- and 24-hr forecast errors, respectively. For a 6-hr forecast error of the extratropical 500-hPa geopotential height field, a potential increase in forecast skill by more than 3 d is suggested, indicating a further increase in predictability by another 1.5 d compared to the use of a 24-hr forecast error. This is due to a smaller initial error and to an initial error reduction resulting in a smaller averaged growth rate for the whole 7-d forecast. A similar assessment for the tropics using the wind vector fields at 850 and 250 hPa suggests a huge potential improvement with a 7-d forecast providing the same skill as a 1-d forecast now. A contributing factor to the increase in the estimate of predictability is the apparent slow increase of error during the early part of the forecast.

Item Type:Article
Divisions:Science > School of Mathematical, Physical and Computational Sciences > Department of Meteorology
ID Code:155
Additional Information:The definitive version is available at

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