Verification of forecasts for extreme rainfall, tropical cyclones, flood and storm surge over Myanmar and the Philippines

David Macleod, Evan Easton-calabria, Erin Coughlan de Perez, C. Jaime

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7 Citations (Scopus)
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Within the humanitarian sector, there is a pressing need to scale up anticipatory action as climate change-related disasters increase. This article evaluates forecasts relating to extreme weather events – extreme rainfall, tropical cyclones, river flooding and storm surge – in Myanmar and the Philippines to assess the feasibility of using such forecasts to develop early warning systems and responses. To make best use of limited extant data, a variety of methods (reliability diagrams, hit rates, false alarm ratios, correlations) are employed. We review the skill of the European Centre for Medium-Range Weather Forecasts (ECMWF) tropical cyclone forecasts and find that whilst errors in cyclone position are relatively small, forecasting intensity is more difficult. When a tropical cyclone has formed, the probabilities provided in the ECMWF track forecast are highly reliable and only slightly overconfident. A tropical cyclone activity product is relatively reliable for forecasts less than a week ahead for North Indian Ocean cyclones affecting Myanmar, but becomes very overconfident beyond this. Looking at flood forecasting models, a comparison of the Global Flood Awareness System (GloFAS, produced by the ECMWF and the European Commission as part of the Copernicus Emergency Management Services) with the Global Flood Forecasting Information System (GLOFFIS, produced by Deltares) demonstrates that both GloFAS and GLOFFIS have difficulty simulating 1 in 2 year return period flows or higher, although GloFAS performance is better than GLOFFIS. GloFAS reforecasts show significantly overconfident probabilities over Myanmar where discharge observations are available, whilst the lack of a GLOFFIS reforecast prevents evaluation of this forecast system directly. Evaluation of the ten-day operational storm surge forecast (the Global Storm Surge Information System, GLOSSIS) produced by Deltares was attempted but lack of any data prevented assessment. These findings present valuable insights into how well forecasts perform, which is crucial information for establishing effective humanitarian action mechanisms.
Original languageEnglish
Article number100325
Pages (from-to)1-14
Number of pages14
JournalWeather and climate extremes
Early online date10 May 2021
Publication statusPublished - Sep 2021


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