Seasonal climate forecasts of the South Asian monsoon using multiple coupled models

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Krishnamurti, Tiruvalam N. ; Mitra, Ashis K. ; Vijaya Kumar, Tallapragada S. V. ; Yun, Wontae T. ; Dewar, William K. (2006)

This study addresses seasonal climate forecasts using coupled atmosphere–ocean multimodels. Using as many as 67 different seasonal-forecast runs per season from a variety of coupled (atmosphere–ocean) models consensus seasonal forecasts have been prepared from about 4500 experiments. These include the European Center’s DEMETER (Development of a European Multi-Model Ensemble System for Seasonal to Inter-Annual Prediction) database and a suite of Florida State University (FSU) models (based on different combinations of physical parametrizations). This is one of the largest databases on coupled models. The monsoon region was selected to examine the predictability issue. The methodology involves construction of seasonal anomalies of all model forecasts for a number of variables including precipitation, 850 hPa winds, 2-m/surface temperatures, and sea surface temperatures. This study explores the skills of the ensemble mean and the FSU multimodel superensemble. The metrics for forecast evaluation include computation of hindcast and verification anomalies from model/observed climatology, time-series of specific climate indices, and standard deterministic ensemble mean scores such as anomaly correlation coefficient and root mean square error. The results were deliberately prepared to match the metrics used by European DEMETER models. Invariably in all modes of evaluation, the results from the FSU multimodel superensemble demonstrate greater skill for most of the variables tested here than those obtained in earlier studies. The specific inquiry of this study was on this question: is it going to be wetter or drier, warmer or colder than the long-term recent climatology of the monsoon; and where and when during the next season? These results are most encouraging, and they suggest that this vast database and the superensemble methodology are able to provide some useful answers to the seasonal monsoon forecast issue compared to the use of single climate models or from the conventional ensemble averaging.
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