Experimental Forecast with a New Version of the LDEO Model
contributed by Dake Chen, Stephen E. Zebiak, and Mark A. Cane
Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory of Columbia University, Palisades, New York
For more than a decade, the LDEO model (Cane et al., 1986; Zebiak and Cane, 1987) has played an important role in our understanding and prediction of ENSO. However, the predictive skill of the original Lamont model (LDEO1) is severely limited by its unbalanced initialization scheme, its sole dependence on wind data and its large systematic biases. In the last few years, we have made considerable improvements in model initialization and data assimilation, resulting in LDEO2 and LDEO3 (Chen et al., 1995, 1998, 1999). Most recently, we have effectively reduced the systematic biases of the Lamont model with a simple statistical correction based on the regression between the leading EOFs of the model errors and the leading MEOFs of the model states (Chen et al., 2000). It is now more straightforward to assimilate data for model initialization because of much reduced model-data incompatibility. The bias-corrected model not only performs better in retrospective forecasting, but also exhibits a more realistic internal variability.
Here we present the current forecasts of this new version of the LDEO model (LDEO4). Figure 1 shows model predicted SST and wind stress anomalies in the tropical Pacific for the next three seasons. These are ensemble averages of the forecasts started from Dec-Jan-Feb conditions, with observed monthly SST, wind and sea level data assimilated. Two sets of forecasts were made in the middle of each month with two different kinds of wind stress data (QuikScat and FSU) for initialization. CAC SST and TOPEX sea level data were used in both cases. Thus the ensembles shown in Figure 1 are based on six individual forecasts. A closer look at the forecast integrations for NINO3 is provided in Figure 2, which shows individual 12 month forecasts beginning from 1-month-apart initial conditions from January 1998 to Feb 2000.
The LDEO model is predicting near-normal conditions for the next three seasons. The forecasts initialized with QuikScat winds indicate a mild warming trend for the rest of the year.
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