Articles | Volume 13, issue 1
Nonlin. Processes Geophys., 13, 53–66, 2006
Nonlin. Processes Geophys., 13, 53–66, 2006

  24 Mar 2006

24 Mar 2006

Application of the LEPS technique for Quantitative Precipitation Forecasting (QPF) in Southern Italy: a preliminary study

S. Federico1,2, E. Avolio1,3, C. Bellecci1,3, M. Colacino2, and R. L. Walko4 S. Federico et al.
  • 1CRATI Scrl, c/o University of Calabria, 87036 Rende (CS), Italy
  • 2CNR-ISAC, via del Fosso del Cavaliere, 100, 00133 Rome, Italy
  • 3University of Rome "Tor Vergata" Dept. STFE, via del Politecnico, 1, 00133 Rome, Italy
  • 4Pratt School of Engineering, Duke University, Durham, NC, USA

Abstract. This paper reports preliminary results for a Limited area model Ensemble Prediction System (LEPS), based on RAMS (Regional Atmospheric Modelling System), for eight case studies of moderate-intense precipitation over Calabria, the southernmost tip of the Italian peninsula. LEPS aims to transfer the benefits of a probabilistic forecast from global to regional scales in countries where local orographic forcing is a key factor to force convection.

To accomplish this task and to limit computational time in an operational implementation of LEPS, we perform a cluster analysis of ECMWF-EPS runs. Starting from the 51 members that form the ECMWF-EPS we generate five clusters. For each cluster a representative member is selected and used to provide initial and dynamic boundary conditions to RAMS, whose integrations generate LEPS. RAMS runs have 12-km horizontal resolution.

To analyze the impact of enhanced horizontal resolution on quantitative precipitation forecasts, LEPS forecasts are compared to a full Brute Force (BF) ensemble. This ensemble is based on RAMS, has 36 km horizontal resolution and is generated by 51 members, nested in each ECMWF-EPS member.

LEPS and BF results are compared subjectively and by objective scores. Subjective analysis is based on precipitation and probability maps of case studies whereas objective analysis is made by deterministic and probabilistic scores. Scores and maps are calculated by comparing ensemble precipitation forecasts against reports from the Calabria regional raingauge network.

Results show that LEPS provided better rainfall predictions than BF for all case studies selected. This strongly suggests the importance of the enhanced horizontal resolution, compared to ensemble population, for Calabria for these cases.

To further explore the impact of local physiographic features on QPF (Quantitative Precipitation Forecasting), LEPS results are also compared with a 6-km horizontal resolution deterministic forecast. Due to local and mesoscale forcing, the high resolution forecast (Hi-Res) has better performance compared to the ensemble mean for rainfall thresholds larger than 10mm but it tends to overestimate precipitation for lower amounts. This yields larger false alarms that have a detrimental effect on objective scores for lower thresholds.

To exploit the advantages of a probabilistic forecast compared to a deterministic one, the relation between the ECMWF-EPS 700 hPa geopotential height spread and LEPS performance is analyzed. Results are promising even if additional studies are required.