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Improved seasonal climate forecasts of the South Asian summer monsoon using a suite of 13 coupled ocean-atmosphere models

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Several modeling studies have shown that the south Asian monsoon region has the lowest skill for seasonal forecasts compared with many other domains of the world. This paper demonstrates that a multimodel synthetic superensemble approach, when constructed with any set of coupled atmosphere-ocean models, can provide improved skill in seasonal climate prediction compared with single-member models or their ensemble mean for the south Asian summer monsoon region. However, performance of the superensemble tends to improve when a better set of input member models are used. As many as 13 state-of-the-art coupled atmosphere-ocean models were used in the synthetic superensemble algorithm. The merit of this technique lies in assigning differential weights to the member models. The rms errors, anomaly correlations, case studies of extreme events, and probabilistic skill scores are used here to assess these forecast skills. It was found that over the south Asian region the seasonal forecasts from the superensemble are, in general, superior to the forecasts of the individual member models, and their bias-removed ensemble mean at a significance level of 95% or more (based on a Student's t test) during the 13 yr of forecasts. Moreover, the skill of the superensemble was found to be better than those of the ensemble mean over smaller domains as well as during extreme events that were monitored, especially during the switch on and off of the Indian Ocean dipole, which seems to modulate the Indian monsoon rainfall. The results of this paper suggest that the superensemble provides somewhat consistent forecasts on the seasonal time scale. This methodology needs to be tested for real-time seasonal climate forecasting over the south Asian region.

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