Real-time demonstration and evaluation of over-the-loop short to medium-range ensemble streamflow forecasting

Friday, 18 December 2015
Poster Hall (Moscone South)
Andrew W Wood1, Elizabeth Clark2, Andrew James Newman3, Bart Nijssen4, Martyn P Clark1, Subhrendu Gangopadhyay5 and J R Arnold6, (1)National Center for Atmospheric Research, Boulder, CO, United States, (2)University of California Los Angeles, Los Angeles, CA, United States, (3)University Corporation for Atmospheric Research, Boulder, CO, United States, (4)University of Washington Seattle Campus, Seattle, WA, United States, (5)Bureau of Reclamation Denver, Denver, CO, United States, (6)US Army Corps of Engineers, Jacksonville, FL, United States
The US National Weather Service River Forecasting Centers are beginning to operationalize short range to medium range ensemble predictions that have been in development for several years. This practice contrasts with the traditional single-value forecast practice at these lead times not only because the ensemble forecasts offer a basis for quantifying forecast uncertainty, but also because the use of ensembles requires a greater degree of automation in the forecast workflow than is currently used. For instance, individual ensemble member forcings cannot (practically) be manually adjusted, a step not uncommon with the current single-value paradigm, thus the forecaster is required to adopt a more 'over-the-loop' role than before. The relative lack of experience among operational forecasters and forecast users (eg, water managers) in the US with over-the-loop approaches motivates the creation of a real-time demonstration and evaluation platform for exploring the potential of over-the-loop workflows to produce usable ensemble short-to-medium range forecasts, as well as long range predictions. We describe the development and early results of such an effort by a collaboration between NCAR and the two water agencies, the US Army Corps of Engineers and the US Bureau of Reclamation. Focusing on small to medium sized headwater basins around the US, and using multi-decade series of ensemble streamflow hindcasts, we also describe early results, assessing the skill of daily-updating, over-the-loop forecasts driven by a set of ensemble atmospheric outputs from the NCEP GEFS for lead times from 1-15 days.