Articles | Volume 11, issue 2
Research article
16 Feb 2011
Research article |  | 16 Feb 2011

Verification of surface minimum, mean, and maximum temperature forecasts in Calabria for summer 2008

S. Federico

Abstract. Since 2005, one-hour temperature forecasts for the Calabria region (southern Italy), modelled by the Regional Atmospheric Modeling System (RAMS), have been issued by CRATI/ISAC-CNR (Consortium for Research and Application of Innovative Technologies/Institute for Atmospheric and Climate Sciences of the National Research Council) and are available online at (every six hours). Beginning in June 2008, the horizontal resolution was enhanced to 2.5 km. In the present paper, forecast skill and accuracy are evaluated out to four days for the 2008 summer season (from 6 June to 30 September, 112 runs). For this purpose, gridded high horizontal resolution forecasts of minimum, mean, and maximum temperatures are evaluated against gridded analyses at the same horizontal resolution (2.5 km).

Gridded analysis is based on Optimal Interpolation (OI) and uses the RAMS first-day temperature forecast as the background field. Observations from 87 thermometers are used in the analysis system. The analysis error is introduced to quantify the effect of using the RAMS first-day forecast as the background field in the OI analyses and to define the forecast error unambiguously, while spatial interpolation (SI) analysis is considered to quantify the statistics' sensitivity to the verifying analysis and to show the quality of the OI analyses for different background fields.

Two case studies, the first one with a low (less than the 10th percentile) root mean square error (RMSE) in the OI analysis, the second with the largest RMSE of the whole period in the OI analysis, are discussed to show the forecast performance under two different conditions. Cumulative statistics are used to quantify forecast errors out to four days. Results show that maximum temperature has the largest RMSE, while minimum and mean temperature errors are similar. For the period considered, the OI analysis RMSEs for minimum, mean, and maximum temperatures vary from 1.8, 1.6, and 2.0 °C, respectively, for the first-day forecast, to 2.0, 1.9, and 2.6 °C, respectively, for the fourth-day forecast.

Cumulative statistics are computed using both SI and OI analysis as reference. Although SI statistics likely overestimate the forecast error because they ignore the observational error, the study shows that the difference between OI and SI statistics is less than the analysis error.

The forecast skill is compared with that of the persistence forecast. The Anomaly Correlation Coefficient (ACC) shows that the model forecast is useful for all days and parameters considered here, and it is able to capture day-to-day weather variability. The model forecast issued for the fourth day is still better than the first-day forecast of a 24-h persistence forecast, at least for mean and maximum temperature. The impact of using the RAMS first-day forecast as the background field in the OI analysis is quantified by comparing statistics computed with OI and SI analyses. Minimum temperature is more sensitive to the change in the analysis dataset as a consequence of its larger representative error.