Articles | Volume 9, issue 6
Model evaluation paper
07 Jun 2016
Model evaluation paper |  | 07 Jun 2016

Randomly correcting model errors in the ARPEGE-Climate v6.1 component of CNRM-CM: applications for seasonal forecasts

Lauriane Batté and Michel Déqué

Abstract. Stochastic methods are increasingly used in global coupled model climate forecasting systems to account for model uncertainties. In this paper, we describe in more detail the stochastic dynamics technique introduced by Batté and Déqué (2012) in the ARPEGE-Climate atmospheric model. We present new results with an updated version of CNRM-CM using ARPEGE-Climate v6.1, and show that the technique can be used both as a means of analyzing model error statistics and accounting for model inadequacies in a seasonal forecasting framework.

The perturbations are designed as corrections of model drift errors estimated from a preliminary weakly nudged re-forecast run over an extended reference period of 34 boreal winter seasons. A detailed statistical analysis of these corrections is provided, and shows that they are mainly made of intra-month variance, thereby justifying their use as in-run perturbations of the model in seasonal forecasts. However, the interannual and systematic error correction terms cannot be neglected. Time correlation of the errors is limited, but some consistency is found between the errors of up to 3 consecutive days.

These findings encourage us to test several settings of the random draws of perturbations in seasonal forecast mode. Perturbations are drawn randomly but consistently for all three prognostic variables perturbed. We explore the impact of using monthly mean perturbations throughout a given forecast month in a first ensemble re-forecast (SMM, for stochastic monthly means), and test the use of 5-day sequences of perturbations in a second ensemble re-forecast (S5D, for stochastic 5-day sequences). Both experiments are compared in the light of a REF reference ensemble with initial perturbations only. Results in terms of forecast quality are contrasted depending on the region and variable of interest, but very few areas exhibit a clear degradation of forecasting skill with the introduction of stochastic dynamics. We highlight some positive impacts of the method, mainly on Northern Hemisphere extra-tropics. The 500 hPa geopotential height bias is reduced, and improvements project onto the representation of North Atlantic weather regimes. A modest impact on ensemble spread is found over most regions, which suggests that this method could be complemented by other stochastic perturbation techniques in seasonal forecasting mode.

Short summary
Taking into account model inadequacies is a key challenge in climate forecasting. As part of the FP7-SPECS project, we examine how stochastic perturbations of atmospheric model dynamics impact seasonal forecast quality of the CNRM coupled model. The method described in this paper helps derive model error statistics as well as improve key aspects of our forecasting system such as systematic errors over the North Atlantic mid-latitudes.