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Journal Article

Diagnostic measures for assessing numerical forecasts of African Easterly waves


Sander,  N.
The Land in the Earth System, MPI for Meteorology, Max Planck Society;
IMPRS on Earth System Modelling, MPI for Meteorology, Max Planck Society;

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Sander, N., & Jones, S. C. (2008). Diagnostic measures for assessing numerical forecasts of African Easterly waves. Meteorologische Zeitschrift, 17(2), 209-220. doi:10.1127/0941-2948/2008/0269.

Cite as: https://hdl.handle.net/11858/00-001M-0000-0011-F9D4-F
The utility of a number of diagnostic measures for assessing forecasts of the synoptic-scale flow over West Africa and the eastern Atlantic is investigated. The forecasts were carried out using the COSMO Model provided by the DeutscherWetterdienst (DWD) for a three week period in 2004. During this period a number of African EasterlyWaves (AEWs) were observed, three of which subsequently developed into the Hurricanes Danielle, Frances and Ivan. A sequence of 72 h forecasts were initialised twice daily from the DWD global analysis, using analyses and 12 h forecasts for the boundary conditions. A variety of diagnostics were used to assess the forecasts including objective analyses of jet and trough axes and Hovmoeller plots. The zonal wind was averaged along the objectively analysed jet axes over West Africa and the Atlantic for the forecasts and analyses. This provides a robust measure of the jet strength that takes into account the spatial variability of the jet location and is not tied to either the maximum wind speed or a particular geographic location. Application of this measure to assess the forecasts showed that overall the jet strength was well represented. The largest errors were associated with local jet variations due to misrepresentation of the African Easterly Waves in the forecasts. The objectively analysed trough axes are used to give a visual indication of the forecast quality. Hovmoeller plots proved useful for assessing the evolution of the AEWs, although the interpretation was difficult when convection in the model produced small-scale but strong vorticity anomalies. The results of this study will be applied to future case studies based on the African Monsoon: Multidisciplinary Analysis (AMMA) special observing periods.