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Discussion papers
https://doi.org/10.5194/esd-2019-18
© Author(s) 2019. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.
https://doi.org/10.5194/esd-2019-18
© Author(s) 2019. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

Research article 30 Apr 2019

Research article | 30 Apr 2019

Review status
This discussion paper is a preprint. It is a manuscript under review for the journal Earth System Dynamics (ESD).

Improvement in the decadal prediction skill of the northern hemisphere extra-tropical winter circulation through increased model resolution

Mareike Schuster1, Jens Grieger1, Andy Richling1, Thomas Schartner2, Sebastian Illing1, Christopher Kadow1, Wolfgang A. Müller4, Holger Pohlmann3,4, Stephan Pfahl1, and Uwe Ulbrich1 Mareike Schuster et al.
  • 1Freie Universität Berlin, Institut für Meteorologie, Carl-Heinrich-Becker Weg 6-10, 12165 Berlin
  • 2Deutscher Wetterdienst, Güterfelder Damm 87-91, 14532 Stahnsdorf
  • 3Deutscher Wetterdienst, Bernhard-Nocht-Straße 76, 20359 Hamburg
  • 4Max-Planck-Institut für Meteorologie, Bundesstraße 53, 20146 Hamburg

Abstract. In this study the latest version of the MiKlip decadal hindcast system is analyzed and the effect of different horizontal and vertical resolutions on the prediction skill of the northern hemisphere extra-tropical atmospheric circulation is assessed. Four metrics – the stormtrack, blocking frequencies, cyclone frequencies and windstorm frequencies – are analyzed with respect to the anomaly correlation of their winter averages. The model bias and hindcast skill are evaluated in both, a lower resolution version (LR, atm: T63L47, ocean: 1.5° L40) and a higher resolution version (HR, atm: T127L95, ocean: 0.4° L40) of the MPI-ESM system, for the lead years 2–5 using initializations between 1978 and 2012. While the LR version shows common shortcomings of lower resolution climate models, e.g. a too zonal stormtrack and a negative bias of blocking frequencies over the eastern North Atlantic and Europe, the HR version works against these biases. As a result, a functional chain of significantly improved decadal prediction skill between all four metrics is found with the increase of the spatial resolution. While the stormtrack, is significantly improved primarily over the main source region of synoptic activity – the North Atlantic Current, the other extra-tropical measures experience a significant improvement downstream thereof. Thus, the skill of the cyclone frequencies is significantly improved over the central North Atlantic and Northern Europe, the skill of the blocking frequencies is significantly improved over the Mediterranean, Scandinavia and Eastern Europe and the skill of the windstorms is significantly improved over Newfoundland and Central Europe. Not only is the skill improved with the increase in resolution, but the HR system itself exhibits significant skill over large areas of the North Atlantic and European sector for all four circulation metrics. These results are particularly promising regarding the high socio-economic impact of European winter windstorms and blocking situations.

Mareike Schuster et al.
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Short summary
Climate predictions on the decadal time scale are valuable to society and are a trending research field in climate science. Advanced prediction systems are developed around the world. We analyze the latest version of the German MiKlip Prediction System and assess the effect of the model resolution on the skill of the system. Four metrics describing the Northern Hemisphere atmoshperic dynamics in winter are evaluated. The increase in model resolution results in significantly improved skill.
Climate predictions on the decadal time scale are valuable to society and are a trending...
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