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Assessment of summer rainfall forecast skill in the Intra-Americas in GFDL high and low-resolution models

Author(s): Krishnamurthy, Lakshmi; Muñoz, Ángel G; Vecchi, Gabriel A; Msadek, Rym; Wittenberg, Andrew T; et al

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Abstract: The Caribbean low-level jet (CLLJ) is an important component of the atmospheric circulation over the Intra-Americas Sea (IAS) which impacts the weather and climate both locally and remotely. It influences the rainfall variability in the Caribbean, Central America, northern South America, the tropical Pacific and the continental Unites States through the transport of moisture. We make use of high-resolution coupled and uncoupled models from the Geophysical Fluid Dynamics Laboratory (GFDL) to investigate the simulation of the CLLJ and its teleconnections and further compare with low-resolution models. The high-resolution coupled model FLOR shows improvements in the simulation of the CLLJ and its teleconnections with rainfall and SST over the IAS compared to the low-resolution coupled model CM2.1. The CLLJ is better represented in uncoupled models (AM2.1 and AM2.5) forced with observed sea-surface temperatures (SSTs), emphasizing the role of SSTs in the simulation of the CLLJ. Further, we determine the forecast skill for observed rainfall using both high- and low-resolution predictions of rainfall and SSTs for the July–August–September season. We determine the role of statistical correction of model biases, coupling and horizontal resolution on the forecast skill. Statistical correction dramatically improves area-averaged forecast skill. But the analysis of spatial distribution in skill indicates that the improvement in skill after statistical correction is region dependent. Forecast skill is sensitive to coupling in parts of the Caribbean, Central and northern South America, and it is mostly insensitive over North America. Comparison of forecast skill between high and low-resolution coupled models does not show any dramatic difference. However, uncoupled models show improvement in the area-averaged skill in the high-resolution atmospheric model compared to lower resolution model. Understanding and improving the forecast skill over the IAS has important implications for highly vulnerable nations in the region.
Publication Date: 15-Feb-2019
Citation: Krishnamurthy, Lakshmi, Ángel G. Muñoz, Gabriel A. Vecchi, Rym Msadek, Andrew T. Wittenberg, Bill Stern, Rich Gudgel, and Fanrong Zeng. "Assessment of summer rainfall forecast skill in the Intra-Americas in GFDL high and low-resolution models." Climate Dynamics 52 (2019): 1965-1982. doi:10.1007/s00382-018-4234-z.
DOI: doi:10.1007/s00382-018-4234-z
ISSN: 0930-7575
EISSN: 1432-0894
Pages: 1965 - 1982
Type of Material: Journal Article
Journal/Proceeding Title: Climate Dynamics
Version: Final published version. This is an open access article.

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