Tuesday, 14 January 2020: 11:30 AM
104C (Boston Convention and Exhibition Center)
The predictability of the atmosphere has important implications for weather prediction, because it determines what forecast problems are potentially tractable. Even though our general understanding of error growth and predictability has been increasing, relatively little is known about the detailed structure of atmospheric predictability, such as how it varies between climate regions. The present study addresses this issue by exploring error growth and predictability in three latitude zones, using model output from the global storm-resolving predictability experiment of Judt (2018, J. Atmos. Sci.). It was determined that the tropics have longer predictability than the middle latitudes and polar regions (tropics: >20 days, middle latitudes and polar regions: a little over two weeks). Each latitude zone had distinct error growth characteristics, and error growth was broadly consistent with the underlying dynamics of each zone. Evidence suggests that equatorial waves play a role in the comparatively long predictability of the tropics; specifically, equatorial waves seem to be less prone to error growth than middle-latitude baroclinic disturbances. The overall results support previous studies in that current numerical weather prediction procedures have not reached the limits of atmospheric predictability, especially in the tropics. One way to exploit tropical predictability is to reduce model error, for example by using global storm-resolving models instead of conventional models that parameterize convection.
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