Get access

Comparison of initial perturbation methods for the mesoscale ensemble prediction system of the Meteorological Research Institute for the WWRP Beijing 2008 Olympics Research and Development Project (B08RDP)


Corresponding author.


Different initial perturbation methods for the mesoscale ensemble prediction were compared by the Meteorological Research Institute (MRI) as a part of the intercomparison of mesoscale ensemble prediction systems (EPSs) of the World Weather Research Programme (WWRP) Beijing 2008 Olympics Research and Development Project (B08RDP).

Five initial perturbation methods for mesoscale ensemble prediction were developed for B08RDP and compared at MRI: (1) a downscaling method of the Japan Meteorological Agency (JMA)'s operational one-week EPS (WEP), (2) a targeted global model singular vector (GSV) method, (3) a mesoscale model singular vector (MSV) method based on the adjoint model of the JMA non-hydrostatic model (NHM), (4) a mesoscale breeding growing mode (MBD) method based on the NHM forecast and (5) a local ensemble transform (LET) method based on the local ensemble transform Kalman filter (LETKF) using NHM. These perturbation methods were applied to the preliminary experiments of the B08RDP Tier-1 mesoscale ensemble prediction with a horizontal resolution of 15 km. To make the comparison easier, the same horizontal resolution (40 km) was employed for the three mesoscale model-based initial perturbation methods (MSV, MBD and LET).

The GSV method completely outperformed the WEP method, confirming the advantage of targeting in mesoscale EPS. The GSV method generally performed well with regard to root mean square errors of the ensemble mean, large growth rates of ensemble spreads throughout the 36-h forecast period, and high detection rates and high Brier skill scores (BSSs) for weak rains. On the other hand, the mesoscale model-based initial perturbation methods showed good detection rates and BSSs for intense rains. The MSV method showed a rapid growth in the ensemble spread of precipitation up to a forecast time of 6 h, which suggests suitability of the mesoscale SV for short-range EPSs, but the initial large growth of the perturbation did not last long. The performance of the MBD method was good for ensemble prediction of intense rain with a relatively small computing cost. The LET method showed similar characteristics to the MBD method, but the spread and growth rate were slightly smaller and the relative operating characteristic area skill score and BSS did not surpass those of MBD. These characteristic features of the five methods were confirmed by checking the evolution of the total energy norms and their growth rates.

Characteristics of the initial perturbations obtained by four methods (GSV, MSV, MBD and LET) were examined for the case of a synoptic low-pressure system passing over eastern China. With GSV and MSV, the regions of large spread were near the low-pressure system, but with MSV, the distribution was more concentrated on the mesoscale disturbance. On the other hand, large-spread areas were observed southwest of the disturbance in MBD and LET. The horizontal pattern of LET perturbation was similar to that of MBD, but the amplitude of the LET perturbation reflected the observation density.