Global versus local MJO forecast skill of the ECMWF model during DYNAMO

Jian Ling, Peter Bauer, Peter Bechtold, Anton Beljaars, Richard Forbes, Frederic Vitart, Marcela Ulate, Chidong Zhang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

52 Scopus citations


This study introduces a concept of global versus local forecast skill of the Madden-Julian oscillation (MJO). The global skill, measured by a commonly used MJO index [the Real-time Multivariate MJO (RMM)], evaluates the model's capability of forecasting global patterns of the MJO, with an emphasis on the zonal wind fields. The local skill is measured by a method of tracking the eastward propagation of MJO precipitation. It provides quantitative information of the strength, propagation speed, and timing of MJO precipitation in a given region, such as the Indian Ocean. Both global and local MJO forecast skills are assessed for ECMWF forecasts of three MJO events during the 2011-12 Dynamics of the MJO (DYNAMO) field campaign. Characteristics of error growth differ substantially between global and local MJO forecast skills, and between the three MJO quantities (strength, speed, and timing) of the local skill measure. They all vary considerably among the three MJO events. Deterioration in global forecast skill for these three events appears to be related to poor local skill in forecasting the propagation speed of MJO precipitation. The global and local MJO forecast skill measures are also applied to evaluate numerical experiments of observation denial, humidity relaxation, and forcing by daily perturbations in sea surface temperature (SST). The results suggest that forecast skill or errors of convective initiation of the three MJO events have global origins. Effects of local (Indian Ocean) factors, such as enhanced observations in the initial conditions, variability of tropospheric humidity and tropical SST, on forecasts of MJO initiation and propagation are limited.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2228-2247
Number of pages20
JournalMonthly Weather Review
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jun 2014


  • Forecast verification/skill
  • Intraseasonal variability
  • Operational forecasting

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Atmospheric Science


Dive into the research topics of 'Global versus local MJO forecast skill of the ECMWF model during DYNAMO'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this