Ensemble-based error and predictability metrics associated with tropical cyclogenesis. Part I: Basinwide perspective

William A. Komaromi, Sharanya J. Majumdar

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

16 Scopus citations


Several metrics are employed to evaluate predictive skill and attempt to quantify predictability using the ECMWF Ensemble Prediction System during the 2010 Atlantic hurricane season, with an emphasis on largescale variables relevant to tropical cyclogenesis. These metrics include the following: 1) growth and saturation of error, 2) errors versus climatology, 3) predicted forecast error standard deviation, and 4) predictive power. Overall, variables that are more directly related to large-scale, slowly varying phenomena are found to be much more predictable than variables that are inherently related to small-scale convective processes, regardless of the metric. For example, 850-200-hPa wind shear and 200-hPa velocity potential are found to be predictable beyond one week, while 200-hPa divergence and 850-hPa relative vorticity are only predictable to about one day. Similarly, area-averaged quantities such as circulation are much more predictable than nonaveraged quantities such as vorticity. Significant day-to-day and month-to-month variability of predictability for a given metric also exists, likely due to the flow regime. For wind shear, more amplified flow regimes are associated with lower predictive power (and thereby lower predictability) than less amplified regimes. Relative humidity is found to be less predictable in the early and late season when there exists greater uncertainty of the timing and location of dry air. Last, the ensemble demonstrates the potential to predict error standard deviation of variables averaged in 10°× 10°boxes, in that forecasts with greater ensemble standard deviation are on average associated with greater mean error. However, the ensemble tends to be underdispersive.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2879-2898
Number of pages20
JournalMonthly Weather Review
Issue number8
StatePublished - Aug 2014

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Atmospheric Science


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