Seasonal prediction skill of ECMWF System 4 and NCEP CFSv2 retrospective forecast for the Northern Hemisphere Winter

Hye Mi Kim, Peter J. Webster, Judith A. Curry

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200 Scopus citations


The seasonal prediction skill for the Northern Hemisphere winter is assessed using retrospective predictions (1982-2010) from the ECMWF System 4 (Sys4) and National Center for Environmental Prediction (NCEP) CFS version 2 (CFSv2) coupled atmosphere-ocean seasonal climate prediction systems. Sys4 shows a cold bias in the equatorial Pacific but a warm bias is found in the North Pacific and part of the North Atlantic. The CFSv2 has strong warm bias from the cold tongue region of the eastern Pacific to the equatorial central Pacific and cold bias in broad areas over the North Pacific and the North Atlantic. A cold bias in the Southern Hemisphere is common in both reforecasts. In addition, excessive precipitation is found in the equatorial Pacific, the equatorial Indian Ocean and the western Pacific in Sys4, and in the South Pacific, the southern Indian Ocean and the western Pacific in CFSv2. A dry bias is found for both modeling systems over South America and northern Australia. The mean prediction skill of 2 meter temperature (2mT) and precipitation anomalies are greater over the tropics than the extra-tropics and also greater over ocean than land. The prediction skill of tropical 2mT and precipitation is greater in strong El Nino Southern Oscillation (ENSO) winters than in weak ENSO winters. Both models predict the year-to-year ENSO variation quite accurately, although sea surface temperature trend bias in CFSv2 over the tropical Pacific results in lower prediction skill for the CFSv2 relative to the Sys4. Both models capture the main ENSO teleconnection pattern of strong anomalies over the tropics, the North Pacific and the North America. However, both models have difficulty in forecasting the year-to-year winter temperature variability over the US and northern Europe.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2957-2973
Number of pages17
JournalClimate Dynamics
Issue number12
StatePublished - Nov 2012

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
We would like to thank the reviewers for thoughtful and helpful comments. The ECMWF System 4 reforecasts were obtained by the authors through a commercial agreement with ECMWF. We would like to acknowledge the continued support of ECMWF especially, with regard to the paper, the comments of Drs. Franco Molteni and Tim Stockdale. The Climate Dynamics Division of the National Science Foundation under grant NSF-AGS 0965610 provided funding support for this research.


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