Ensemble postprocessing of daily precipitation sums over complex terrain using censored high-resolution standardized anomalies

Reto Stauffer*, Nikolaus Umlauf, Jakob W. Messner, Georg J. Mayr, Achim Zeileis

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review


Probabilistic forecasts provided by numerical ensemble prediction systems have systematic errors and are typically underdispersive. This is especially true over complex topography with extensive terrain-induced smallscale effects, which cannot be resolved by the ensemble system. To alleviate these errors, statistical postprocessing methods are often applied to calibrate the forecasts. This article presents a new full-distributional spatial postprocessing method for daily precipitation sums based on the standardized anomaly model output statistics (SAMOS) approach. Observations and forecasts are transformed into standardized anomalies by subtracting the long-term climatological mean and dividing by the climatological standard deviation. This removes all site-specific characteristics fromthe data andmakes it possible to fit one single regression model for all stations at once. As the model does not depend on the station locations, it directly allows the creation of probabilistic forecasts for any arbitrary location. SAMOS uses a left-censored power-transformed logistic response distribution to account for the large fraction of zero observations (dry days), the limitation to nonnegative values, and the positive skewness of the data. ECMWFreforecasts are used formodel training and to correct the ECMWF ensemble forecasts with the big advantage that SAMOS does not require an extensive archive of past ensemble forecasts as only themost recent four reforecasts are needed, and it automatically adapts to changes in the ECMWF ensemble model. The application of the new method to the central Alps shows that the new method is able to depict the small-scale properties and returns accurate fully probabilistic spatial forecasts.

Original languageEnglish
JournalMonthly Weather Review
Issue number3
Pages (from-to)955-969
Number of pages15
Publication statusPublished - 2017
Externally publishedYes


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