ClimaTea Journal Club


Wednesday, February 27, 2019, 12:00pm


HUCE Seminar Room MCZ 440

Speaker: Professor Golan Bel from Ben-Gurion University of the Negev

Title: "Decadal Climate Predictions Using Sequential Learning Algorithms"

Abstract: Ensembles of climate models are commonly used to improve climate predictions and assess the uncertainties associated with them. Weighting the models according to their performances holds the promise of further improving their predictions. Decadal climate predictions, which are initialized with observed conditions, are characterized by two main sources of uncertainties—internal and model variabilities. Using an ensemble of climate model simulations from the CMIP5 decadal experiments, we quantified the total uncertainty associated with these predictions and the relative importance of each source. The model uncertainties that contribute greatly to the total uncertainties in most regions, for all the variables considered here, may be reduced by weighting the models in the ensemble.

Sequential learning algorithms (SLAs) are used to reduce the forecast errors and reduce the uncertainties. Three different SLAs are considered, and their performances are compared with those of an equally weighted ensemble, a linear regression, and the climatology. Predictions of four different variables—the surface temperature, the zonal and meridional wind, and the pressure—are considered. The spatial distributions of the performances are presented, and the statistical significance of the improvements achieved by the SLAs is tested. The reliability of the SLAs is also tested, and the advantages and limitations of the different performance measures are discussed. It was found that the best performances of the SLAs are achieved when the learning period is comparable to the prediction period. The spatial distribution of the SLAs performance showed that they are skillful and better than the other forecasting methods over large continuous regions. This finding suggests that, despite the fact that each of the ensemble models is not skillful, the models were able to capture some physical processes that resulted in deviations from the climatology and that the SLAs enabled the extraction of this additional information. [Paper 1, Paper 2, Paper 3]

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