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Downstream influence of mesoscale convective systems: part 2, influence on ensemble forecast skill and spread

Clarke, S. J., Gray, S. L. and Roberts, N. M. (2019) Downstream influence of mesoscale convective systems: part 2, influence on ensemble forecast skill and spread. Quarterly Journal of the Royal Meteorological Society, 145 (724). pp. 2953-2972. ISSN 0035-9009

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To link to this item DOI: 10.1002/qj.3613


Ensemble forecasts are run operationally to determine forecast uncertainty arising from initial condition, model physics and boundary condition uncertainty. However, global configuration ensembles, which use a convection parametrization scheme, may miss uncertainty because of the misrepresentation of intense convection by such schemes. Here the impacts of the misrepresentation of Mesoscale Convective Systems (MCSs) on downstream ensemble forecast skill and evolution are determined for a case study. MCS perturbations (calculated from the difference between output from convection-parametrizing and convection-permitting Met Office model configurations) are added to six members of a global configuration ensemble created by downscaling forecasts from the global version of the Met Office Global and Regional Ensemble Prediction System. For the first 36 h differences grow on the convective scale related to the MCSs leading to systematic deepening of a developing UK cyclone, although there is damping of the perturbations found in root mean square difference calculations between the forecasts with and without the perturbations (particularly in mean sea level pressure). Subsequently, differences grow rapidly onto the synoptic scale and by five days impact the entire northern hemisphere. The MCS perturbations can have systematic effects on the ensemble forecasts (e.g. a systematic displacement of a downstream cyclone is found), but for this case, there is no discernible change in forecast skill as measured by root mean square error of the ensemble means and the effects of the MCS perturbations are smaller than those generated by the initial condition perturbations. The spread of the combined ensemble (the two ensembles with and without the MCS perturbations) is larger than that of the individual ensembles. Thus, perturbing convection-parametrizing models to include PV anomalies associated with MCSs represented in convection-permitting forecasts, or idealised representations of them, produces alternative realisations to those generated by initial condition perturbations and has the potential to be useful operationally.

Item Type:Article
Divisions:Science > School of Mathematical, Physical and Computational Sciences > Department of Meteorology
ID Code:84958


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