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Journal of Geophysical Research: Atmospheres

Comparison of dynamically and statistically downscaled seasonal climate forecasts for the cold season over the United States

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Abstract

[1] This study compares two approaches, dynamical and statistical downscaling, for their potential to improve regional seasonal forecasts for the United States (U.S.) during the cold season. In the MultiRCM Ensemble Downscaling (MRED) project, seven regional climate models (RCMs) are used to dynamically downscale the Climate Forecast System (CFS) seasonal prediction over the conterminous U.S. out to 5 months for the period of 1982–2003. The simulations cover December to April of next year with 10 ensemble members from each RCM with different initial and boundary conditions from the corresponding ensemble members. These dynamically downscaled forecasts are compared with statistically downscaled forecasts produced by two bias correction methods applied to both the CFS and RCM forecasts. Results of the comparison suggest that the RCMs add value in seasonal prediction application, but the improvements largely depend on location, forecast lead time, variables, and skill metrics used for evaluation. Generally, more improvements are found over the Northwest and North Central U.S. for the shorter lead times. The comparison results also suggest a hybrid forecast system that combines both dynamical and statistical downscaling methods have the potential to maximize prediction skill.

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