Articles | Volume 21, issue 2
Nonlin. Processes Geophys., 21, 393–403, 2014

Special issue: Ensemble methods in geophysical sciences

Nonlin. Processes Geophys., 21, 393–403, 2014

Research article 12 Mar 2014

Research article | 12 Mar 2014

Provision of boundary conditions for a convection-permitting ensemble: comparison of two different approaches

C. Marsigli, A. Montani, and T. Paccagnella C. Marsigli et al.
  • ARPA-SIMC, HydroMeteoClimate Service of ARPA Emilia-Romagna, Bologna, Italy

Abstract. The current resolution of the operational global models favours the possibility of driving convection-permitting limited-area model (LAM) simulations directly, sparing the necessity for an intermediate step with a coarser-resolution LAM. Though the resolution of global ensemble systems is generally lower than that of deterministic ones, it is also possible to consider this opportunity in the field of ensemble forecasting. The aim of this paper is to investigate the effect of this choice for driving a convection-permitting ensemble based on the COSMO model, for a specific application, namely the forecast of intense autumn precipitation events over Italy. The impact of the direct nesting in the ECMWF global ensemble is compared to a two-step nesting, which makes use of a LAM ensemble system with parametrised convection. Results show that the variability introduced in the geopotential field by the direct nesting is usually contained within the uncertainty described by the standard ensemble, and differences between pairs of members following different nesting approaches are generally smaller than the ensemble error, computed with respect to analysis. The relation between spread and error is even improved by the direct nesting approach. In terms of precipitation, it is found that the forecasts issued by members with different nesting approaches generally have differences at spatial scales between 16 and 180 km, depending on the case, hence not negligible. Nevertheless, the skill of the LAM ensemble precipitation forecasts, evaluated by means of an objective verification, is comparable. Therefore, the overall quality of the 2.8 km ensemble for the specific application is not deteriorated by the provision of lower resolution lateral boundary conditions directly from the global ensemble.