Assessment of numerical weather prediction model reforecasts of the occurrence, intensity, and location of atmospheric rivers along the west coast of North America

TitleAssessment of numerical weather prediction model reforecasts of the occurrence, intensity, and location of atmospheric rivers along the west coast of North America
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2018
AuthorsNardi K.M, Barnes E.A, Ralph FM
JournalMonthly Weather Review
Volume146
Pagination3343-3362
Date Published2018/10
Type of ArticleArticle
ISBN Number0027-0644
Accession NumberWOS:000449769900002
Keywordsblocking; california; connection; events; extreme precipitation; forecasts; Meteorology & Atmospheric Sciences; s2s database; united-states
Abstract

Atmospheric rivers (ARs)-narrow corridors of high atmospheric water vapor transport-occur globally and are associated with flooding and maintenance of the water supply. Therefore, it is important to improve forecasts of AR occurrence and characteristics. Although prior work has examined the skill of numerical weather prediction (NWP) models in forecasting atmospheric rivers, these studies only cover several years of reforecasts from a handful of models. Here, we expand this previous work and assess the performance of 10-30 years of wintertime (November-February) AR landfall reforecasts from the control runs of nine operational weather models, obtained from the International Subseasonal to Seasonal (S2S) Project database. Model errors along the west coast of North America at leads of 1-14 days are examined in terms of AR occurrence, intensity, and landfall location. Occurrence-based skill approaches that of climatology at 14 days, while models are, on average, more skillful at shorter leads in California, Oregon, and Washington compared to British Columbia and Alaska. We also find that the average magnitude of landfall integrated water vapor transport (IVT) error stays fairly constant across lead times, although overprediction of IVT is common at later lead times. Finally, we show that northward landfall location errors are favored in California, Oregon, and Washington, although southward errors occur more often than expected from climatology. These results highlight the need for model improvements, while helping to identify factors that cause model errors.

DOI10.1175/mwr-d-18-0060.1
Short TitleMon. Weather Rev.
Student Publication: 
No