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Keywords:

  • QPFs;
  • nowcasting;
  • STEPS;
  • ensemble forecasting

Abstract

Short-term Quantitative Precipitation Forecasts (QPFs) can be achieved from numerical weather prediction (NWP) models or radar nowcasting, that is the extrapolation of the precipitation at a future time from consecutive radar scans. Hybrid forecasts obtained by merging rainfall forecasts from radar nowcasting and NWP models are potentially more skilful than either radar nowcasts or NWP rainfall forecasts alone. This paper provides an assessment of deterministic and probabilistic high-resolution QPFs achieved by implementing the Short-term Ensemble Prediction System developed by the UK Met Office. Both radar nowcasts and hybrid forecasts have been performed. The results show that the performance of both deterministic nowcasts and deterministic hybrid forecasts decreases with increasing rainfall intensity and spatial resolution. The results also show that the blending with the NWP forecasts improves the performance of the forecasting system. Probabilistic hybrid forecasts have been obtained through the modelling of a stochastic noise component to produce a number of equally likely ensemble members, and the comparative assessment of deterministic and probabilistic hybrid forecasts shows that the probabilistic forecasting system is characterised by a higher discrimination accuracy than the deterministic one. Copyright © 2011 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.