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Impact of Atmosphere and Land Surface Initial Conditions on Seasonal Forecasts of Global Surface Temperature

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Impact of Atmosphere and Land Surface Initial Conditions on Seasonal Forecasts of Global Surface Temperature

 

Authors: Stefano Materia, Andrea Borrelli, Alessio Bellucci, and Andrea Alessandri

 

Published: Dec 2014

 

Abstract:

The impact of land surface and atmosphere initialization on the forecast skill of a seasonal prediction system is investigated, and an effort to disentangle the role played by the individual components to the global predictability is done, via a hierarchy of seasonal forecast experiments performed under different initialization strategies. A realistic atmospheric initial state allows an improved equilibrium between the ocean and overlying atmosphere, increasing the model predictive skill in the ocean. In fact, in regions characterized by strong air–sea coupling, the atmosphere initial condition affects forecast skill for several months. In particular, the ENSO region, eastern tropical Atlantic, and North Pacific benefit significantly from the atmosphere initialization. On the mainland, the effect of atmospheric initial conditions is detected in the early phase of the forecast, while the quality of land surface initialization affects forecast skill in the following seasons. Winter forecasts in the high-latitude plains benefit from the snow initialization, while the impact of soil moisture initial state is particularly effective in the Mediterranean region and central Asia.

However, the initialization strategy based on the full value technique may not be the best choice for land surface, since soil moisture is a strongly model-dependent variable: in fact, initialization through land surface reanalysis does not systematically guarantee a skill improvement. Nonetheless, using a different initialization strategy for land, as opposed to atmosphere and ocean, may generate inconsistencies. Overall, the introduction of a realistic initialization for land and atmosphere substantially increases skill and accuracy. However, further developments in the procedure for land surface initialization are required for more accurate seasonal forecasts.

 

Link to full paper: https://journals.ametsoc.org/doi/10.1175/JCLI-D-14-00163.1

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