Journal cover Journal topic
Natural Hazards and Earth System Sciences An interactive open-access journal of the European Geosciences Union
doi:10.5194/nhess-2017-122
© Author(s) 2017. This work is distributed
under the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License.
Research article
31 Mar 2017
Review status
This discussion paper is under review for the journal Natural Hazards and Earth System Sciences (NHESS).
Revisiting the synoptic-scale predictability of severe European winter storms using ECMWF ensemble reforecasts
Florian Pantillon, Peter Knippertz, and Ulrich Corsmeier Institute of Meteorology and Climate Research, Karlsruhe Institute of Technology, Karlsruhe, Germany
Abstract. New insights into the synoptic-scale predictability of 25 severe European winter storms of the 1995–2015 period are obtained using the homogeneous ensemble reforecast dataset from the European Centre for Medium-Range Weather Forecasts. The predictability of the storms is assessed with different metrics including the track and intensity to investigate the storms’ dynamics and the Storm Severity Index to estimate the impact of the associated wind gusts. The storms are correctly predicted by the ensemble reforecasts up to 2–4 days ahead only, which restricts the use of ensemble average and spread to short lead times. At longer lead times, the Extreme Forecast Index and Shift of Tails are computed from the deviation of the ensemble reforecasts from the model climate. Based on these indices, the model has some skill in forecasting the area covered by extreme wind gusts up to 10 days, which indicates clear potential for the early warning of storms. However, a large variability is found between the predictability of individual storms and does not appear to be related to the storms’ characteristics. This may be due to the limited sample of 25 cases, but also suggests that each severe storm has its own dynamics and sources of forecast uncertainty.

Citation: Pantillon, F., Knippertz, P., and Corsmeier, U.: Revisiting the synoptic-scale predictability of severe European winter storms using ECMWF ensemble reforecasts, Nat. Hazards Earth Syst. Sci. Discuss., doi:10.5194/nhess-2017-122, in review, 2017.
Florian Pantillon et al.
Florian Pantillon et al.
Florian Pantillon et al.

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Short summary
The predictability of 25 historical winter storms over Europe is revisited by taking advantage of a homogeneous dataset of retrospective forecasts for the 1995–2015 period. The forecasts correctly predict the storms up to 2–4 days ahead only but also show clear potential for the early warning of storms up to 10 days. However, a large variability is found between the predictability of individual storms, which suggests that each storm has its own dynamics and sources of forecast uncertainty.
The predictability of 25 historical winter storms over Europe is revisited by taking advantage...
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