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Evaluation of the consistency of ECMWF ensemble forecasts

Richardson, D. S., Cloke, H. L. ORCID: and Pappenberger, F. (2020) Evaluation of the consistency of ECMWF ensemble forecasts. Geophysical Research Letters, 47 (11). e2020GL087934. ISSN 0094-8276

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To link to this item DOI: 10.1029/2020GL087934


An expected benefit of ensemble forecasts is that a sequence of consecutive forecasts valid for the same time will be more consistent than an equivalent sequence of individual forecasts. Inconsistent (jumpy) forecasts can cause users to lose confidence in the forecasting system. We present a first systematic, objective evaluation of the consistency of the European Centre for Medium-Range Weather Forecasts (ECMWF) ensemble using a measure of forecast divergence that takes account of the full ensemble distribution. Focusing on forecasts of the North Atlantic Oscillation and European Blocking regimes up to two weeks ahead, we identify occasional large inconsistency between successive runs, with the largest jumps tending to occur at 7-9 days lead. However, care is needed in the interpretation of ensemble jumpiness. An apparent clear flip-flop in a single index may hide a more complex predictability issue which may be better understood by examining the ensemble evolution in phase space.

Item Type:Article
Divisions: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:90485
Publisher:American Geophysical Union


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