Assessing North American multimodel ensemble (NMME) seasonal forecast skill to assist in the early warning of anomalous hydrometeorological events over East Africa

  • Shraddhanand Shukla
  • Jason Roberts
  • Andrew Hoell
  • Christopher C. Funk
  • Franklin Robertson
  • Ben Kirtman

DOI: 10.1007/s00382-016-3296-z

Cite this article as:
Shukla, S., Roberts, J., Hoell, A. et al. Clim Dyn (2016). doi:10.1007/s00382-016-3296-z


The skill of North American multimodel ensemble (NMME) seasonal forecasts in East Africa (EA), which encompasses one of the most food and water insecure areas of the world, is evaluated using deterministic, categorical, and probabilistic evaluation methods. The skill is estimated for all three primary growing seasons: March–May (MAM), July–September (JAS), and October–December (OND). It is found that the precipitation forecast skill in this region is generally limited and statistically significant over only a small part of the domain. In the case of MAM (JAS) [OND] season it exceeds the skill of climatological forecasts in parts of equatorial EA (Northern Ethiopia) [equatorial EA] for up to 2 (5) [5] months lead. Temperature forecast skill is generally much higher than precipitation forecast skill (in terms of deterministic and probabilistic skill scores) and statistically significant over a majority of the region. Over the region as a whole, temperature forecasts also exhibit greater reliability than the precipitation forecasts. The NMME ensemble forecasts are found to be more skillful and reliable than the forecast from any individual model. The results also demonstrate that for some seasons (e.g. JAS), the predictability of precipitation signals varies and is higher during certain climate events (e.g. ENSO). Finally, potential room for improvement in forecast skill is identified in some models by comparing homogeneous predictability in individual NMME models with their respective forecast skill.

Supplementary material

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Funding information

Funder NameGrant NumberFunding Note
U.S. Geological Survey
  • G09AC000001
National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration
  • NA11OAR4310151
U.S. Geological Survey (US) Climate and Land Use Change Program
    National Aeronautics and Space Administration
    • NNH12ZDA001N-IDS
    • NNX14AD30G
    • NNX15AL46G

      Copyright information

      © Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2016

      Authors and Affiliations

      1. 1.Climate Hazards Group, Department of GeographyUniversity of CaliforniaSanta BarbaraUSA
      2. 2.NASA Marshall Space Flight CenterHuntsvilleUSA
      3. 3.Physical Sciences DivisionNOAA Earth System Research LaboratoryBoulderUSA
      4. 4.EROS United States Geological SurveyGarretsonUSA
      5. 5.University of MiamiMiamiUSA

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