• ensemble forecasting;
  • short-range NWP


The Met Office has been routinely running a short-range global and regional ensemble prediction system (EPS) since the summer of 2005. This article describes a major upgrade to the global ensemble, which affected both the initial condition and model uncertainty perturbations applied in that ensemble. The change to the initial condition perturbations is to allow localization within the ensemble transform Kalman filter (ETKF). This enables better specification of the ensemble spread as a function of location around the globe. The change to the model uncertainty perturbations is the addition of a stochastic kinetic energy backscatter scheme (SKEB). This adds vorticity perturbations to the forecast in order to counteract the damping of small-scale features introduced by the semi-Lagrangian advection scheme.

Verification of ensemble forecasts is presented for the global ensemble system. It is shown that the localization of the ETKF gives a distribution of the spread as a function of latitude that better matches the forecast error of the ensemble mean. The SKEB scheme has a substantial effect on the power spectrum of the kinetic energy, and with the scheme a shallowing of the spectral slope is seen in the tail. A k−5/3 slope is seen at wavelengths shorter than 1000 km and this better agrees with the observed spectrum. The local ETKF significantly improves forecasts at all lead times over a number of variables. The SKEB scheme increases the rate of growth of ensemble spread in some variables, and improves forecast skill at short lead times. ©Crown Copyright 2009. Reproduced with the permission of HMSO. Published by John Wiley & Sons Ltd.