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Forecast Verification: Identification of Small Changes In Weather Forecasting Skill


Global and regonal weather forecasts have improved over the past seven decades most often because of small, incrmental improvements. The identificaiton and verification of forecast improvement due to proposed small changes in forecasting can be expensive and, if not carried out efficiently, can slow progress in forecasting development. This presentation will look at the skill of commonly used verification techniques and show how the ability to detect improvements can depend on the magnitude of the improvement, the number of runs used to test the improvement, the location on the Earth and the statistical techniques used. For continuous variables, such as temperture, wind and humidity, the skill of a forecast can be directly compared using a pair-wise statistical test that accommodates the natural autocorrelation and magnitude of variability. For discrete variables, such as tornado outbreaks, or icing events, the challenges is to reduce the false alarm rate while improving the rate of correctly identifying th discrete event. For both continuus and discrete verification results, proper statistical approaches can reduce the number of runs needed to identify a small improvement in forecasting skill. Verification within the Next Generation Global Prediction System is an important component to the many small decisions needed to make stat-of-the-art improvements to weather forecasting capabilities. The comparison of multiple skill scores with often conflicting results requires not only appropriate testing, but also scientific judgment to assure that the choices are appropriate not only for improvements in today's forecasting capabilities, but allow improvements that will come in the future. Plain Language Summary Weather forecasts are important to save lives and property but are also of critical importance to agriculture, energy production and national security. Improvements in weather forecast often involve very small advances that need to be tested to assure the right decisions are bieng made. The testing of new weather forecasts requires scientific judgment working togeher with advanced statistical techniques to assure appropriate decisions. This work builds directly from optimizaation efforts commonly used in the business world to save money and build toward state-of-the-art system

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December 01, 2017

This publication was presented at the following:

AGU Fall Meeting - 2017
American Geophysical Union


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