Hydrological ensemble forecasts / Hydrologiska ensembleprognoser.

Type: Report
Series: RH 21
Author: Jonas Olsson, Göran Lindström, Anna Johnell, Karin Jacobsson


Since July 2004, a system for hydrological ensemble forecasting has been operational at SMHI. The system uses meteorological ensemble forecasts of precipitation and temperature from ECMWF as input to the hydrological HBV model, which generates an ensemble of discharge forecasts. In this report, the hydrological ensemble prediction system (EPS) is firstly described, along with some general features of the forecasts. Some preparatory analyses of the ECMWF meteorological forecasts and spring flood EPS forecasts are made. The main part of the report is an evaluation of 18 months of 9-day hydrological ensemble forecasts in 45 Swedish catchments. In the deterministic evaluation, the EPS median forecast is compared with the categorical PMP forecast. The results indicate an overall similar performance of the two forecast types. It is also shown that the spread of the EPS forecasts is related to the forecast error. In the probabilistic evaluation, the accuracy of probabilities calculated from the EPS spread is investigated. A percentile-based evaluation shows that the spread is underestimated. A threshold-based evaluation shows that the probability of exceeding some high discharge threshold level is overestimated. Finally, a simple method to correct the EPS spread is developed and tested, and different ways to present EPS forecasts are discussed