A Comparison of the ECMWF, MSC, and NCEP Global Ensemble Prediction Systems

Buizza, Roberto; Houtekamer, P. L.; Toth, Zoltan; Pellerin, Gerald; Wei, Mozheng; Zhu, Yuejian
May 2005
Monthly Weather Review;May2005, Vol. 133 Issue 5, p1076
Academic Journal
The present paper summarizes the methodologies used at the European Centre for Medium-Range Weather Forecasts (ECMWF), the Meteorological Service of Canada (MSC), and the National Centers for Environmental Prediction (NCEP) to simulate the effect of initial and model uncertainties in ensemble forecasting. The characteristics of the three systems are compared for a 3-month period between May and July 2002. The main conclusions of the study are the following: : the performance of ensemble prediction systems strongly depends on the quality of the data assimilation system used to create the unperturbed (best) initial condition and the numerical model used to generate the forecasts; : a successful ensemble prediction system should simulate the effect of both initial and model-related uncertainties on forecast errors; and : for all three global systems, the spread of ensemble forecasts is insufficient to systematically capture reality, suggesting that none of them is able to simulate all sources of forecast uncertainty. The relative strengths and weaknesses of the three systems identified in this study can offer guidelines for the future development of ensemble forecasting techniques.


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