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Moist singular vectors and the predictability of some high impact European cyclones

Hoskins, B. J. and Coutinho, M. M. (2005) Moist singular vectors and the predictability of some high impact European cyclones. Quarterly Journal of the Royal Meteorological Society, 131 (606). pp. 581-601. ISSN 1477-870X

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To link to this item DOI: 10.1256/qj.04.48


The ECMWF full-physics and dry singular vector (SV) packages, using a dry energy norm and a 1-day optimization time, are applied to four high impact European cyclones of recent years that were almost universally badly forecast in the short range. It is shown that these full-physics SVs are much more relevant to severe cyclonic development than those based on dry dynamics plus boundary layer alone. The crucial extra ingredient is the representation of large-scale latent heat release. The severe winter storms all have a long, nearly straight region of high baroclinicity stretching across the Atlantic towards Europe, with a tongue of very high moisture content on its equatorward flank. In each case some of the final-time top SV structures pick out the region of the actual storm. The initial structures were generally located in the mid- to low troposphere. Forecasts based on initial conditions perturbed by moist SVs with opposite signs and various amplitudes show the range of possible 1-day outcomes for reasonable magnitudes of forecast error. In each case one of the perturbation structures gave a forecast very much closer to the actual storm than the control forecast. Deductions are made about the predictability of high-impact extratropical cyclone events. Implications are drawn for the short-range forecast problem and suggestions made for one practicable way to approach short-range ensemble forecasting. Copyright © 2005 Royal Meteorological Society.

Item Type:Article
Divisions:Science > School of Mathematical, Physical and Computational Sciences > Department of Meteorology
ID Code:5306
Uncontrolled Keywords:Forecast sensitivity;Moist perturbations;Severe storms
Additional Information:Part B
Publisher:Royal Meteorological Society

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