Group seminar on 12. April, 13:30
How to improve rainfall forecasts in the tropics?
Prof. Dr. Peter Knippertz
More than half of the global population live in the tropics and depend crucially on rainfall for food security, water supply and energy production. Therefore reliable rainfall forecasts would potentially have enormous socio-economic benefits. Currently, however, state-of-the-art operational forecasting systems have poor skill in the tropics, in particular over populous tropical Africa, the largest tropical landmass. The poor skill appears to be related to the chaotic nature of convection but also to insufficient observations, inadequate data assimilation and large model errors. On the other hand recent studies suggest that the prominence of equatorial wave modes leads to a much longer intrinsic predictability at synoptic to planetary scales than in midlatitudes, a potential that however is not realized (yet?) by operational systems. In the presentation I will discuss recent work on tropical forecasting with a geographical focus on Africa, including aspects such as statistical postprocessing, machine learning, convection-permitting resolution, new observations, data assimilation and the identification of equatorial waves.