The National Centers for Environmental Prediction (NCEP) Regional Spectral Model (RSM) is used to generate ensemble forecasts over the southwest United States during the 151 days of 1 November 2002 to 31 March 2003. RSM forecasts to 24 h on a 12-km grid are produced from 0000 and 1200 UTC initial conditions. Eleven ensemble members are run each forecast cycle from the NCEP Global Forecast System (GFS) ensemble analyses (one control and five pairs of bred modes) and forecast lateral boundary conditions. The model domain covers two NOAA River Forecast Centers: the California Nevada River Forecast Center (CNRFC) and the Colorado Basin River Forecast Center (CBRFC). Ensemble performance is evaluated for probabilistic forecasts of 24-h accumulated precipitation in terms of several accuracy and skill measures. Differences among several NCEP precipitation analyses are assessed along with their impact on model verification, with NCEP stage IV blended analyses selected to represent "truth." Forecast quality and potential value are found to depend strongly on the verification dataset, geographic region, and precipitation threshold. In general, the RSM forecasts are skillful over the CNRFC region for thresholds between 1 and 50 mm but are unskillful over the CBRFC region. The model exhibits a wet bias for all thresholds that is larger over Nevada and the CBRFC region than over California. Mitigation of such biases over the Southwest will pose serious challenges to the modeling community in view of the uncertainties inherent in verifying analyses.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Atmospheric Science