12 Jul 2022
12 Jul 2022
Status: this preprint is open for discussion and under review for Weather and Climate Dynamics (WCD).

Subseasonal precipitation forecasts of opportunity over southwest Asia

Melissa Leah Breeden1,2, John Robert Albers1,2, and Andrew Hoell2 Melissa Leah Breeden et al.
  • 1Cooperative Institute for Research in Environmental Sciences, University of Colorado Boulder, Boulder, CO
  • 2NOAA Physical Sciences Laboratory, Boulder, CO

Abstract. Subseasonal forecasts of opportunity (SFOs) for precipitation over southwest Asia during January–March at lead times of 3–6 weeks are identified using elevated expected forecast skill from a Linear Inverse Model (LIM), an empirical dynamical model that uses statistical relationships to infer the predictable dynamics of a system. The expected forecast skill from this LIM, which is based on the atmospheric circulation, tropical outgoing longwave radiation and sea surface temperatures, captures the predictability associated with many relevant signals as opposed to just one. Two modes of variability, El Niño-Southern Oscillation (ENSO) and the Madden Julian Oscillation (MJO), which themselves are predictable because of their slow variations, are related to southwest Asia precipitation SFOs. Strong El Nino events, as observed in 1983, 1998, and 2016, significantly increase the likelihood by up to threefold of an SFO 3–4 and 5–6 weeks in advance. Strong La Nina events, as observed in 1989, 1999, 2000, also significantly increased the likelihood of an SFO at those same lead times. High amplitude MJO events in phases 2–4 and 6–8 of greater than one standardized departure also significantly increases the likelihood of an SFO 3–4 weeks in advance. Predictable atmospheric circulation patterns preceding anomalously wet periods indicate a role for anomalous tropical convection in the SPCZ region, while suppressed convection is observed preceding predictable dry periods. Anomalous heating in this region is found to distinguish wet and dry periods during both El Niño and La Niña conditions, although the atmospheric circulation response to the heating differs between each ENSO phase.

Melissa Leah Breeden et al.

Status: open (until 23 Aug 2022)

Comment types: AC – author | RC – referee | CC – community | EC – editor | CEC – chief editor | : Report abuse
  • RC1: 'Comment on egusphere-2022-555', Anonymous Referee #1, 21 Jul 2022 reply
  • RC2: 'Comment on egusphere-2022-555', Anonymous Referee #2, 17 Aug 2022 reply

Melissa Leah Breeden et al.

Melissa Leah Breeden et al.


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Short summary
We use a statistical model to generate precipitation forecasts at lead times of 2–6 weeks over southwest Asia, needed to support humanitarian food distribution. Model signal-to-noise ratio is used to identify a smaller subset of forecasts with particularly high skill, so-called 'subseasonal forecasts of opportunity' (SFOs). Precipitation SFOs over southwest Asia are often related to slowly evolving tropical phenomena, namely the El Niño-Southern Oscillation and Madden-Julian Oscillation.