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Stochastic atmospheric perturbations in the EC-Earth3 global coupled model: impact of SPPT on seasonal forecast quality


Atmospheric model uncertainties at a seasonal time scale can be addressed by introducing stochastic perturbations in the model formulation. In this paper the stochastically perturbed parameterization tendencies (SPPT) technique is activated in the atmospheric component of the EC-Earth global coupled model and the impact on seasonal forecast quality is assessed, both at a global scale and focusing on the Tropical Pacific region. Re-forecasts for winter and summer seasons using two different settings for the perturbation patterns are evaluated and compared to a reference experiment without stochastic perturbations. We find that SPPT tends to increase the systematic error of the model sea-surface temperature over most regions of the globe, whereas the impact on precipitation and sea-level pressure is less clear. In terms of ensemble spread, larger-scale perturbation patterns lead to a greater increase in spread and in the model spread-skill ratio in a system that is overconfident. Over the Tropical Pacific, improvements in the representation of key processes associated with ENSO are highlighted. The evaluation of probabilistic re-forecasts shows that SPPT improves their reliability. Finally, we discuss the limitations to this study and future prospects with EC-Earth.

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The constructive comments of two anonymous reviewers were gratefully received, and helped improve this manuscript. The authors would like to thank Alfons Callado-Pallarès for his help and insightful comments, as well as Stefan Siegert for useful discussions on forecast quality evaluation. They are indebted to Muhammed Asif, Domingo Manubens Gil and Oriol Mula Valls for technical support in running the experiments. Experiments were run on the Marenostrum 3 HPC in Barcelona with resources provided by the RES (Red Española de Supercomputación). Most figures were computed using the R language and s2dverification package ( The analysis of the experiments was achieved in the framework of the EU project SPECS funded by the European Commissions Seventh Framework Research Programme, under the grant agreement 308378.

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Correspondence to Lauriane Batté.

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Batté, L., Doblas-Reyes, F.J. Stochastic atmospheric perturbations in the EC-Earth3 global coupled model: impact of SPPT on seasonal forecast quality. Clim Dyn 45, 3419–3439 (2015).

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  • Seasonal climate forecasting
  • Stochastic physics
  • Ensemble forecasting