Original paper

Revealing skill of the MiKlip decadal prediction system by three-dimensional probabilistic evaluation

Stolzenberger, Sophie; Glowienka-Hense, Rita; Spangehl, Thomas; Schröder, Marc; Mazurkiewicz, Alex; Hense, Andreas

Meteorologische Zeitschrift Vol. 25 No. 6 (2016), p. 657 - 671

55 references

published: Dec 21, 2016
published online: Sep 17, 2015
manuscript accepted: Mar 11, 2015
manuscript revision received: Mar 10, 2015
manuscript revision requested: Oct 28, 2014
manuscript received: Apr 9, 2014

DOI: 10.1127/metz/2015/0606

BibTeX file


Open Access (paper can be downloaded for free)

Download paper for free


Decadal climate predictions and their verification are part of ongoing research. This article studies different methods applied to decadal hindcasts of three-dimensional atmospheric variables to evaluate the MiKlip (Mittelfristige Klimaprognosen) prediction system. Variables such as upper air temperature are tight to the core of the prediction system and hence help to reveal its power and deficiencies. The verification uses both, necessary and sufficient probabilistic measures. We analyze annual and multi-year averages of air temperature and geopotential height and the parametrized quantity net water flux at the ocean surface, the so-called freshwater flux, also known as E‑P (evaporation minus precipitation), as an important variable for atmosphere-ocean coupling. The model data stem from various versions of the MiKlip prediction system and constitute different sets of ensemble hindcasts covering 1979–2012. The results reveal that the freshwater flux is far more sensitive to model deficiencies than the basic dynamical variables and the predictability decays much earlier with prediction lead time. Initializing the atmospheric component is more important for the predictability than the difference in resolution between two model versions. The combined initialization of atmosphere and ocean has the effect of increasing the predictability in the inner tropics from 1 to 2 years compared to the ocean only initialization. For prediction year 7–10, the hindcasts are still closer to each other than to the uninitialized historical runs indicating that the prediction system is still influenced by the initial conditions. The skill for prediction year 7–10 is, however, only marginally larger than the skill of the uninitialized ensemble. The three-dimensional skill analysis reveals a clear indication of a mid-tropospheric temperature error developing in the tropical Pacific area.


climate predictionstemperaturegeopotential heightMiKlip