Skillful decadal prediction of German Bight storm activity


We evaluate the prediction skill of the Max Planck Institute Earth System Model (MPI-ESM) decadal hindcast system for German Bight storm activity (GBSA) on a multiannual to decadal scale. We define GBSA every year via the most extreme 3-hourly geostrophic wind speeds, which are derived from mean sea-level pressure (MSLP) data. Our 64-member ensemble of annually initialized hindcast simulations spans the time period 1960–2018. For this period, we compare deterministically and probabilistically predicted winter MSLP anomalies and annual GBSA with a lead time of up to 10 years against observations. The model produces poor deterministic predictions of GBSA and winter MSLP anomalies for individual years but fair predictions for longer averaging periods. A similar but smaller skill difference between short and long averaging periods also emerges for probabilistic predictions of high storm activity. At long averaging periods (longer than 5 years), the model is more skillful than persistence- and climatology-based predictions. For short aggregation periods (4 years and less), probabilistic predictions are more skillful than persistence but insignificantly differ from climatological predictions. We therefore conclude that, for the German Bight, probabilistic decadal predictions (based on a large ensemble) of high storm activity are skillful for averaging periods longer than 5 years. Notably, a differentiation between low, moderate, and high storm activity is necessary to expose this skill.
QR Code: Link to publication