Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society, 89, 459-470

Towards "seamless" prediction: Calibration of climate-change projections using seasonal forecasts

Tim N. Palmer, Francisco J. Doblas-Reyes, Antje Weisheimer and Mark Rodwell
ECMWF, Shinfield Park
RG2 9AX, Reading, UK
Reliable climate predictions of regional precipitation are needed to guide decisions on infrastructure investment to adapt to anthropogenic climate change (ACC). For example, following two consecutive dry winters in Southern England, is a national water grid required to prevent prolonged water shortages? Critical to answering these questions are the latest ACC projections of precipitation change from the ensemble of global climate models. However, are these projections reliable; in particular is agreement between models a reliable indication of forecast accuracy? Motivated by recent proposals to explore the utility of "seamless" prediction methods across weather and climate timescales, we propose a quality-control criterion for multi-model ensemble projections of climate-change, based on corresponding seasonal-forecast skill estimates and related attributes-diagram analysis. From an analysis of the DEMETER seasonal-forecast database, we use our proposed criterion to cast doubt on the reliability of consensus in the latest ACC projections of precipitation change over Europe. By analysing additional simulations, we conclude that improved reliability may require global climate models to be integrated at substantially higher resolutions than is currently possible.

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