Climate Dynamics

, Volume 39, Issue 7–8, pp 2013–2023 | Cite as

Sensitivity of decadal predictions to the initial atmospheric and oceanic perturbations

  • H. Du
  • F. J. Doblas-Reyes
  • J. García-Serrano
  • V. Guemas
  • Y. Soufflet
  • B. Wouters


A coupled global atmosphere–ocean model is employed to investigate the impact of initial perturbation methods on the behaviour of five-member ensemble decadal re-forecasts. Three initial-condition perturbation strategies, atmosphere only, ocean only and atmosphere–ocean, have been used and the impact on selected variables have been investigated. The impact has been assessed in terms of climate drift, forecast quality and spread. The simulated global means of near-surface air temperature (T2M), sea surface temperature (SST) and sea ice area (SIA) for both Arctic and Antarctic show reasonably good quality, in spite of the non-negligible drift of the model. The skill in terms of correlation is not significantly affected by the particular perturbation method employed. The ensemble spread generated for T2M, SST and land surface precipitation (PCP) saturates quickly with any of the perturbation methods. However, for SIA, Atlantic meridional overturning circulation (AMOC) and ocean heat content (OHC), the spread increases substantially during the forecast time when ocean perturbations are applied. Ocean perturbations are particularly important for Antarctic SIA and OHC for the middle and deep layers of the ocean. The results will be helpful in the design of ensemble prediction experiments.


Decadal Ensemble Perturbation Prediction Spread 



This work was supported by the EU-funded QWeCI (FP7-ENV-2009-1-243964) and the MICINN-funded RUCSS (CGL2010-20657) projects. The authors thankfully acknowledge the computer resources, technical expertise and assistance provided by the Red Española de Supercomputación (RES).


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  • H. Du
    • 1
  • F. J. Doblas-Reyes
    • 1
    • 2
  • J. García-Serrano
    • 1
  • V. Guemas
    • 1
  • Y. Soufflet
    • 1
  • B. Wouters
    • 3
  1. 1.Institut Català de Ciències del Clima (IC3)BarcelonaSpain
  2. 2.Instituciò Catalana de Recerca i Estudis Avançats (ICREA)BarcelonaSpain
  3. 3.Royal Netherlands Meteorological Institute (KNMI)De BiltThe Netherlands

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