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Ensemble Forecast: A New Approach to Uncertainty and Predictability
Ensemble Forecast: A New Approach to Uncertainty and Predictability

Keywords: ensemble forecast,predictability,uncertainty

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Ensemble techniques have been used to generate daily numerical weather forecasts since the 1990s in numerical centers around the world due to the increase in computation ability. One of the main purposes of numerical ensemble forecasts is to try to assimilate the initial uncertainty (initial error) and the forecast uncertainty (forecast error) by applying either the initial perturbation method or the multi-model/multiphysics method. In fact, the mean of an ensemble forecast offers a better forecast than a deterministic (or control) forecast after a short lead time (3 5 days) for global modelling applications. There is about a 1-2-day improvement in the forecast skill when using an ensemble mean instead of a single forecast for longer lead-time. The skillful forecast (65% and above of an anomaly correlation) could be extended to 8 days (or longer) by present-day ensemble forecast systems. Furthermore, ensemble forecasts can deliver a probabilistic forecast to the users, which is based on the probability density function (PDF)instead of a single-value forecast from a traditional deterministic system. It has long been recognized that the ensemble forecast not only improves our weather forecast predictability but also offers a remarkable forecast for the future uncertainty, such as the relative measure of predictability (RMOP) and probabilistic quantitative precipitation forecast (PQPF). Not surprisingly, the success of the ensemble forecast and its wide application greatly increase the confidence of model developers and research communities.


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