A Bayesian framework for verification and recalibration of ensemble forecasts: How uncertain is NAO predictability?
Stephenson, David B.
Sansom, Philip G.
Scaife, Adam A.
Predictability estimates of ensemble prediction systems are uncertain due to limited numbers of past forecasts and observations. To account for such uncertainty, this paper proposes a Bayesian inferential framework that provides a simple 6-parameter representation of ensemble forecasting systems and the corresponding observations. The framework is probabilistic, and thus allows for quantifying uncertainty in predictability measures such as correlation skill and signal-to-noise ratios. It also provides a natural way to produce recalibrated probabilistic predictions from uncalibrated ensembles forecasts. The framework is used to address important questions concerning the skill of winter hindcasts of the North Atlantic Oscillation for 1992-2011 issued by the Met Office GloSea5 climate prediction system. Although there is much uncertainty in the correlation between ensemble mean and observations, there is strong evidence of skill: the 95% credible interval of the correlation coefficient of [0.19,0.68] does not overlap zero. There is also strong evidence that the forecasts are not exchangeable with the observations: With over 99% certainty, the signal-to-noise ratio of the forecasts is smaller than the signal-to-noise ratio of the observations, which suggests that raw forecasts should not be taken as representative scenarios of the observations. Forecast recalibration is thus required, which can be coherently addressed within the proposed framework.
European Union Programme FP7/2007-13
DECC/Defra Met office Hadley Centre Climate Programme
First published online 08 April 2015