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Ensemble prediction for nowcasting with a convection-permitting model—I: description of the system and the impact of radar-derived surface precipitation rates

By Stefano Migliorini, M Dixon, Ross Bannister and S Ballard


A key strategy to improve the skill of quantitative predictions of precipitation, as well as hazardous weather such as severe thunderstorms and flash floods is to exploit the use of observations of convective activity (e.g. from radar). In this paper, a convection-permitting ensemble prediction system (EPS) aimed at addressing the problems of forecasting localized weather events with relatively short predictability time scale and based on a 1.5 km grid-length version of the Met Office Unified Model is presented. Particular attention is given to the impact of using predicted observations of radar-derived precipitation intensity in the ensemble transform Kalman filter (ETKF) used within the EPS. Our initial results based on the use of a 24-member ensemble of forecasts for two summer case studies show that the convective-scale EPS produces fairly reliable forecasts of temperature, horizontal winds and relative humidity at 1 h lead time, as evident from the inspection of rank histograms. On the other hand, the rank histograms seem also to show that the EPS generates too much spread for forecasts of (i) surface pressure and (ii) surface precipitation intensity. These may indicate that for (i) the value of surface pressure observation error standard deviation used to generate surface pressure rank histograms is too large and for (ii) may be the result of non-Gaussian precipitation observation errors. However, further investigations are needed to better understand these findings. Finally, the inclusion of predicted observations of precipitation from radar in the 24-member EPS considered in this paper does not seem to improve the 1-h lead time forecast skill

Publisher: Wiley-Blackwell
Year: 2011
OAI identifier: oai:centaur.reading.ac.uk:19771

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