Precipitation type estimation with ECMWF probability products

WMO Satellite Skills

Estibaliz Gascon presents the IFS ensemble forecasts from ECMWF that provides an instantaneous precipitation type output variable.

Length: 37 minutes.


One of the greatest difficulties facing forecasters during the cool season is the correct determination of precipitation type, especially with temperatures close to freezing point. There are numerous sources of uncertainty in precipitation type forecasts which is why mixed phases are not well predicted. These uncertainties are difficult to reduce but can potentially be quantified by the use of ensembles.
The Integrated Forecast System (IFS) ensemble forecasts (ENS) from ECMWF provide an instantaneous precipitation type (ptype) output variable that describes 6 types of precipitation at the surface: rain, freezing rain, snow, wet snow, sleet or ice pellets (plus dry). As part of ECMWF's contribution to the ANYWHERE European project, two new products were developed. These are the most probable precipitation type, shown on map format, and the instantaneous probabilities of different types, shown for a given site. The first of these shows which type is most probable whenever the probability of some precipitation is >50%. The second product depicts the temporal evolution of probabilities for a specific location in bar chart format, classified also according to three categories of instantaneous precipitation rate. These new instantaneous probabilistic products will be shown through an experiment reproducing the freezing rain case study in Slovenia in 2014.

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