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An ensemble forecast of the South China Sea monsoon

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This paper presents a generalized ensemble forecast procedure for the tropical latitudes. Here we propose an empirical orthogonal function-based procedure for the definition of a seven-member ensemble. The wind and the temperature fields are perturbed over the global tropics. Although the forecasts are made over the global belt with a high-resolution model, the emphasis of this study is on a South China Sea monsoon. Over this domain of the South China Sea includes the passage of a Tropical Storm, Gary, that moved eastwards north of the Philippines. The ensemble forecast handled the precipitation of this storm reasonably well. A global model at the resolution Triangular Truncation 126 waves is used to carry out these seven forecasts. The evaluation of the ensemble of forecasts is carried out via standard root mean square errors of the precipitation and the wind fields. The ensemble average is shown to have a higher skill compared to a control experiment, which was a first analysis based on operational data sets over both the global tropical and South China Sea domain. All of these experiments were subjected to physical initialization which provides a spin-up of the model rain close to that obtained from satellite and gauge-based estimates. The results furthermore show that inherently much higher skill resides in the forecast precipitation fields if they are averaged over area elements of the order of 4° latitude by 4° longitude squares.

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Correspondence to T. N. Krishnamurti.

Additional information

This research was supported by NASA grants NAG8-1199, NAG5-4729, ONR grant No. N00014-95-1-1132, and NSF grant No. ATM-9710336.

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Krishnamurti, T.N., Tewari, M., Bensman, E. et al. An ensemble forecast of the South China Sea monsoon. Adv. Atmos. Sci. 16, 159–182 (1999).

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Key words

  • Ensemble forecast
  • Triangular truncation