Articles | Volume 18, issue 6
Research article
02 Dec 2011
Research article |  | 02 Dec 2011

Combining 2-m temperature nowcasting and short range ensemble forecasting

A. Kann, T. Haiden, and C. Wittmann

Abstract. During recent years, numerical ensemble prediction systems have become an important tool for estimating the uncertainties of dynamical and physical processes as represented in numerical weather models. The latest generation of limited area ensemble prediction systems (LAM-EPSs) allows for probabilistic forecasts at high resolution in both space and time. However, these systems still suffer from systematic deficiencies. Especially for nowcasting (0–6 h) applications the ensemble spread is smaller than the actual forecast error. This paper tries to generate probabilistic short range 2-m temperature forecasts by combining a state-of-the-art nowcasting method and a limited area ensemble system, and compares the results with statistical methods. The Integrated Nowcasting Through Comprehensive Analysis (INCA) system, which has been in operation at the Central Institute for Meteorology and Geodynamics (ZAMG) since 2006 (Haiden et al., 2011), provides short range deterministic forecasts at high temporal (15 min–60 min) and spatial (1 km) resolution. An INCA Ensemble (INCA-EPS) of 2-m temperature forecasts is constructed by applying a dynamical approach, a statistical approach, and a combined dynamic-statistical method. The dynamical method takes uncertainty information (i.e. ensemble variance) from the operational limited area ensemble system ALADIN-LAEF (Aire Limitée Adaptation Dynamique Développement InterNational Limited Area Ensemble Forecasting) which is running operationally at ZAMG (Wang et al., 2011). The purely statistical method assumes a well-calibrated spread-skill relation and applies ensemble spread according to the skill of the INCA forecast of the most recent past. The combined dynamic-statistical approach adapts the ensemble variance gained from ALADIN-LAEF with non-homogeneous Gaussian regression (NGR) which yields a statistical \mbox{correction} of the first and second moment (mean bias and dispersion) for Gaussian distributed continuous variables. Validation results indicate that all three methods produce sharp and reliable probabilistic 2-m temperature forecasts. However, the statistical and combined dynamic-statistical methods slightly outperform the pure dynamical approach, mainly due to the under-dispersive behavior of ALADIN-LAEF outside the nowcasting range. The training length does not have a pronounced impact on forecast skill, but a spread re-scaling improves the forecast skill substantially. Refinements of the statistical methods yield a slight further improvement.