Publications


On the predictability of the extreme summer 2003 over Europe

Geophysical Research Letters 38 (2011)

A Weisheimer, A Weisheimer, FJ Doblas-Reyes, FJ Doblas-Reyes, FJ Doblas-Reyes, T Jung, T Jung, TN Palmer, TN Palmer

The European summer 2003 is a prominent example for an extreme hot and dry season. The main mechanisms that contributed to the growth of the heat wave are still disputed and state-of-the-art climate models have difficulty to realistically simulate the extreme conditions. Here we analyse simulations using recent versions of the European Centre for Medium-Range Weather Forecasts seasonal ensemble forecasting system and present, for the first time, retrospective forecasts which simulate accurately not only the abnormal warmth but also the observed precipitation and mid-tropospheric circulation patterns. It is found that while the land surface hydrology plays a crucial role, the successful simulations also required revised formulations of the radiative and convective parameterizations. We conclude that the predictability of the event was less due to remote teleconnections effects and more due to in situ processes which helped maintain the dry surface anomalies occurring at the beginning of the summer. Copyright 2011 by the American Geophysical Union.


Predictability of Euro-Russian blocking in summer of 2010

GEOPHYSICAL RESEARCH LETTERS 38 (2011) ARTN L06801

M Matsueda


Rossby wave dynamics of the North Pacific extra-tropical response to El Niño: Importance of the basic state in coupled GCMs

Climate Dynamics 37 (2011) 391-405

A Dawson, AJ Matthews, DP Stevens


Predictability of an Atmospheric Blocking Event that Occurred on 15 December 2005

Monthly weather review American Meteorological Society 139 (2011) 2455-2470

M MATSUEDA

Atmospheric blocking occurred over the Rocky Mountains at 1200 UTC 15 December 2005. The operational medium-range ensemble forecasts of the Canadian Meteorological Center (CMC), the Japan Meteorological Agency (JMA), and the National Centers for Environmental Prediction (NCEP), as initialized at 1200 UTC 10 December 2005, showed remarkable differences regarding this event. All of the NCEP members failed to predict the correct location of the blocking, whereas almost all of the JMA members and most of the CMC members were successful in predicting the correct location. The present study investigated the factors that caused NCEP to incorrectly predict the blocking location, based on an ensemble-based sensitivity analysis and the JMA global spectral model (GSM) multianalysis ensemble forecasts with NCEP, regionally amplified NCEP, and globally amplified NCEP analyses.A sensitive area for the blocking formation was detected over the central North Pacific. In this area, the NCEP control analysis experienced problems in the handling of a cutoff cyclone, and the NCEP initial perturbations were ineffective in reducing uncertainties in the NCEP control analysis. The JMA GSM multianalysis ensemble forecasts revealed that regional amplification of initial perturbations over the sensitive area could lead to further improvements in forecasts over the blocking region without degradation of forecasts over the Northern Hemisphere (NH), whereas the global amplification of initial perturbations could lead to improved forecasts over the blocking region and degraded forecasts over the NH. This finding may suggest that excessive amplification of initial perturbations over nonsensitive areas is undesirable, and that case-dependent rescaling of initial perturbations may be of value compared with climatology-based rescaling, which is widely used in current operational ensemble prediction systems.


Diagnosing the causes of bias in climate models - why is it so hard?

Geophysical and Astrophysical Fluid Dynamics 105 (2011) 351-365

TN Palmer, A Weisheimer

The equations of climate are, in principle, known. Why then is it so hard to formulate a biasfree model of climate? Here, some ideas in nonlinear dynamics are explored to try to answer this question. Specifically it is suggested that the climatic response to physically different forcings shows a tendency to project onto structures corresponding to the systems natural internal modes of variability. This is shown using results from complex climate models and from the relatively simple Lorenz three-component model. It is suggested that this behaviour is consistent with what might be expected from the fluctuation-dissipation theorem. Based on this, it is easy to see how climate models can easily suffer from having errors in the representation of two or more different physical processes, whose responses compensate one another and hence make individual error diagnosis difficult. A proposal is made to try to overcome these problems and advance the science needed to develop a bias-free climate model. The proposal utilises powerful diagnostics from data assimilation. The key point here is that these diagnostics derive from short-range forecast tendencies, estimated long before the model has asymptotically settled down to its (biased) climate attractor. However, it is shown that these diagnostics will not identify all sources of model error, and a so-called "bias of the second kind" is discussed. This latter bias may be alleviated by recently developed stochastic parametrisations. © 2011 Taylor & Francis.


Predictability of an atmospheric blocking event that occurred on 15 December 2005

Monthly Weather Review 139 (2011) 2455-2470

M Matsueda, M Kyouda, Z Toth, HL Tanaka, T Tsuyuki

Atmospheric blocking occurred over the Rocky Mountains at 1200 UTC 15 December 2005. The operational medium-range ensemble forecasts of the Canadian Meteorological Center (CMC), the Japan Meteorological Agency (JMA), and the National Centers for Environmental Prediction (NCEP), as initialized at 1200UTC10 December 2005, showed remarkable differences regarding this event. All of the NCEP members failed to predict the correct location of the blocking, whereas almost all of the JMA members and most of the CMC members were successful in predicting the correct location. The present study investigated the factors that caused NCEP to incorrectly predict the blocking location, based on an ensemble-based sensitivity analysis and the JMA global spectral model (GSM) multianalysis ensemble forecasts with NCEP, regionally amplified NCEP, and globally amplified NCEP analyses. A sensitive area for the blocking formation was detected over the central North Pacific. In this area, the NCEP control analysis experienced problems in the handling of a cutoff cyclone, and the NCEP initial perturbations were ineffective in reducing uncertainties in the NCEP control analysis. The JMA GSM multianalysis ensemble forecasts revealed that regional amplification of initial perturbations over the sensitive area could lead to further improvements in forecasts over the blocking region without degradation of forecasts over the Northern Hemisphere (NH), whereas the global amplification of initial perturbations could lead to improved forecasts over the blocking region and degraded forecasts over the NH. This finding may suggest that excessive amplification of initial perturbations over nonsensitive areas is undesirable, and that case-dependent rescaling of initial perturbations may be of value compared with climatology-based rescaling, which is widely used in current operational ensemble prediction systems. © 2011 American Meteorological Society.


Handling uncertainty in science.

Philos Trans A Math Phys Eng Sci 369 (2011) 4681-4684

TN Palmer, PJ Hardaker


Future changes in the East Asian rain band projected by global atmospheric models with 20-km and 60-km grid size

CLIMATE DYNAMICS 37 (2011) 2481-2493

S Kusunoki, R Mizuta, M Matsueda


Accuracy of climate change predictions using high resolution simulations as surrogates of truth

Geophysical Research Letters 38 (2011)

M Matsueda, TN Palmer, TN Palmer

How accurate are predictions of climate change from a model which is biased against contemporary observations? If a model bias can be thought of as a state-independent linear offset, then the signal of climate change derived from a biased climate model should not be affected substantially by that model's bias. By contrast, if the processes which cause model bias are highly nonlinear, we could expect the accuracy of the climate change signal to degrade with increasing bias. Since we do not yet know the late 21st Century climate change signal, we cannot say at this stage which of these two paradigms describes best the role of model bias in studies of climate change. We therefore study this question using time-slice projections from a global climate model run at two resolutions - a resolution typical of contemporary climate models and a resolution typical of contemporary numerical weather prediction - and treat the high-resolution model as a surrogate of truth, for both 20th and 21st Century climate. We find that magnitude of the regionally varying model bias is a partial predictor of the accuracy of the regional climate change signal for both wind and precipitation. This relationship is particularly apparent for the 850 mb wind climate change signal. Our analysis lends some support to efforts to weight multi-model ensembles of climate change according to 20th Century bias, though note that the optimal weighting appears to be a nonlinear function of bias. Copyright © 2011 by the American Geophysical Union.


Decadal climate prediction with the European Centre for Medium-Range Weather Forecasts coupled forecast system: Impact of ocean observations

JOURNAL OF GEOPHYSICAL RESEARCH-ATMOSPHERES 116 (2011) ARTN D19111

FJ Doblas-Reyes, MA Balmaseda, A Weisheimer, TN Palmer


Analyzing precipitation projections: A comparison of different approaches to climate model evaluation

Journal of Geophysical Research 116 (2011)

N Schaller, I Mahlstein, J Cermak, R Knutti


Extended warming of the northern high latitudes due to an overshoot of the Atlantic meridional overturning circulation

Geophysical Research Letters 38 (2011) n/a-n/a

P Wu, L Jackson, A Pardaens, N Schaller


Uncertainty in weather and climate prediction

Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society A: Mathematical, Physical and Engineering Sciences 369 (2011) 4751-4767

J Slingo, T Palmer, T Palmer

Following Lorenz's seminal work on chaos theory in the 1960s, probabilistic approaches to prediction have come to dominate the science of weather and climate forecasting. This paper gives a perspective on Lorenz's work and how it has influenced the ways in which we seek to represent uncertainty in forecasts on all lead times from hours to decades. It looks at how model uncertainty has been represented in probabilistic prediction systems and considers the challenges posed by a changing climate. Finally, the paper considers how the uncertainty in projections of climate change can be addressed to deliver more reliable and confident assessments that support decision-making on adaptation and mitigation. This journal is © 2011 The Royal Society.


Evaluation of probabilistic quality and value of the ENSEMBLES multimodel seasonal forecasts: Comparison with DEMETER

Monthly Weather Review 139 (2011) 581-607

A Alessandri, A Borrelli, A Navarra, A Arribas, M Déqué, P Rogel, A Weisheimer

The performance of the new multimodel seasonal prediction system developed in the framework of the European Commission FP7 project called ENSEMBLE-based predictions of climate changes and their impacts (ENSEMBLES) is compared with the results from the previous project [i.e., Development of a European Multimodel Ensemble System for Seasonal-to-Interannual Prediction (DEMETER)]. The comparison is carried out over the five seasonal prediction systems (SPSs) that participated in both projects. Since DEMETER, the contributing SPSs have improved in all aspects with the main advancements including the increase in resolution, the better representation of subgrid physical processes, land, sea ice, and greenhouse gas boundary forcing, and the more widespread use of assimilation for ocean initialization. The ENSEMBLES results show an overall enhancement for the prediction of anomalous surface temperature conditions. However, the improvement is quite small and with considerable space-time variations. In the tropics, ENSEMBLES systematically improves the sharpness and the discrimination attributes of the forecasts. Enhancements of the ENSEMBLES resolution attribute are also reported in the tropics for the forecasts started 1 February, 1 May, and 1 November. Our results indicate that, in ENSEMBLES, an increased portion of prediction signal from the single-models effectively contributes to amplify the multimodel forecasts skill. On the other hand, a worsening is shown for the multimodel calibration over the tropics compared to DEMETER. Significant changes are also shown in northern midlatitudes, where the ENSEMBLES multimodel discrimination, resolution, and reliability improve for February, May, and November starting dates. However, the ENSEMBLES multimodel decreases the capability to amplify the performance with respect to the contributing single models for the forecasts started in February, May, and August. This is at least partly due to the reduced overconfidence of the ENSEMBLES single models with respect to the DEMETER counterparts. Provided that they are suitably calibrated beforehand, it is shown that the ENSEMBLES multimodel forecasts represent a step forward for the potential economical value they can supply. A warning for all potential users concerns the need for calibration due to the degraded tropical reliability compared to DEMETER. In addition, the superiority of recalibrating the ENSEMBLES predictions through the discrimination information is shown. Concerning the forecasts started inAugust, ENSEMBLES exhibitsmixed results over both tropics and northernmidlatitudes. In this case, the increased potential predictability compared to DEMETER appears to be balanced by the reduction in the independence of the SPSs contributing to ENSEMBLES. Consequently, for the August start dates no clear advantage of using one multimodel system instead of the other can be evidenced. © 2011 American Meteorological Society.


ECMWF seasonal forecast system 3 and its prediction of sea surface temperature

CLIMATE DYNAMICS 37 (2011) 455-471

TN Stockdale, DLT Anderson, MA Balmaseda, F Doblas-Reyes, L Ferranti, K Mogensen, TN Palmer, F Molteni, F Vitart


Future Change in Extratropical Cyclones Associated with Change in the Upper Troposphere

JOURNAL OF CLIMATE 24 (2011) 6456-6470

R Mizuta, M Matsueda, H Endo, S Yukimoto


Decadal climate prediction with the European Centre for Medium-Range Weather Forecasts coupled forecast system: Impact of ocean observations

Journal of Geophysical Research: Atmospheres 116 (2011)

FJ Doblas-Reyes, FJ Doblas-Reyes, FJ Doblas-Reyes, MA Balmaseda, A Weisheimer, A Weisheimer, TN Palmer, TN Palmer

Three 10 year ensemble decadal forecast experiments have been performed with the European Centre for Medium-Range Weather Forecasts coupled forecast system using an initialization strategy common in seasonal forecasting with realistic initial conditions. One experiment initializes the ocean in a standard way using an ocean-only simulation forced with an atmospheric reanalysis and with strong relaxation to observed sea surface temperatures. The other two experiments initialize the ocean from a similar ocean-only run that, in addition, assimilates subsurface observations. This is the first time that these experiments were performed. The system drifts from the realistic initial conditions toward the model climate, the drift being of the same order as, if not larger than, the interannual signal. There are small drift differences in the three experiments that reflect mainly the influence of dynamical ocean processes in controlling the adjustment between the initialized state and the model climate in the extratropics. In spite of the drift, the predictions show that the system is able to skillfully predict some of the interannual variability of the global and regional air and ocean temperature. No significant forecast quality benefit of the assimilation of ocean observations is found over the extratropics, although a negative impact of the assimilation of incorrect expendable bathythermograph profiles has been found for the global mean upper ocean heat content and the Atlantic multidecadal oscillation. The results illustrate the importance of reducing the important model drift and the ocean analysis uncertainty. Copyright 2011 by the American Geophysical Union.


A CERN for climate change

PHYSICS WORLD 24 (2011) 14-15

T Palmer


Assessment of representations of model uncertainty in monthly and seasonal forecast ensembles

GEOPHYSICAL RESEARCH LETTERS 38 (2011) ARTN L16703

A Weisheimer, TN Palmer, FJ Doblas-Reyes


Assessment of representations of model uncertainty in monthly and seasonal forecast ensembles

Geophysical Research Letters 38 (2011)

A Weisheimer, A Weisheimer, TN Palmer, TN Palmer, FJ Doblas-Reyes, FJ Doblas-Reyes, FJ Doblas-Reyes

The probabilistic skill of ensemble forecasts for the first month and the first season of the forecasts is assessed, where model uncertainty is represented by the a) multi-model, b) perturbed parameters, and c) stochastic parameterisation ensembles. The main foci of the assessment are the Brier Skill Score for near-surface temperature and precipitation over land areas and the spread-skill relationship of sea surface temperature in the tropical equatorial Pacific. On the monthly timescale, the ensemble forecast system with stochastic parameterisation provides overall the most skilful probabilistic forecasts. On the seasonal timescale the results depend on the variable under study: for near surface temperature the multi-model ensemble is most skilful for most land regions and for global land areas. For precipitation, the ensemble with stochastic parameterisation most often produces the highest scores on global and regional scales. Our results indicate that stochastic parameterisations should now be developed for multi-decadal climate predictions using earth-system models. Copyright 2011 by the American Geophysical Union.