366305 Sensitivity of ensemble forecast verification to model bias

Tuesday, 14 January 2020
Hall B (Boston Convention and Exhibition Center)
Jingzhuo Wang, CMA(China Meteorological Administration), Beijing, China; and J. Chen and J. Du

This study demonstrates how model bias can adversely affect the quality assessment of an ensemble prediction system (EPS) by verification metrics. A regional EPS (GRAPES-EPS) was verified over a period of one month over China. Three variables (500-hPa and 2-m temperatures, and 250-hPa wind) are selected to represent "strong" and "weak” bias situations. Ensemble spread and probabilistic forecasts are compared before and after a bias correction. The results show that the conclusions drawn from ensemble verification about the EPS are dramatically different with or without model bias. This is true for both ensemble spread and probabilistic forecasts. The GRAPES-EPS is severely under-dispersive before the bias correction but becomes calibrated afterwards, although the improvement in spread's spatial structure is much less; the spread-skill relation is also improved. The probabilities become much sharper and almost perfectly reliable after the bias is removed. Therefore, it is necessary to remove forecast biases before one can accurately evaluate an EPS since an EPS deals only with random error but not systematic error. Only when an EPS has no or little forecast bias, can ensemble verification metrics reliably reveal the true quality of an EPS without removing forecast bias first. An implication is that EPS developers should not be expected to introduce methods to dramatically increase ensemble spread (either by perturbation method or statistical calibration) to achieve reliability. Instead, the preferred solution is to reduce model bias through prediction system developments and to focus on the quality of spread (not the quantity of spread). Forecast products should also be produced from debiased but not raw ensemble.
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