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Verification and Applications

Activity Leader: James Risbey

Dr Didier Monselesan

Dr Carly Tozer

Dr Dougie Squire





Our guiding philosophy is that verification of model forecasts should be a transparent process, and that applications of forecasts should be informed by the understanding that comes from model verification.

Thus, these two components, verification and applications, are part of the same activity. Our work is focused on the CAFE forecast system and is supported by observational analyses and process studies in simpler climate models.


The CAFE system has developed a dedicated verification package, pyLatte, to assess model skill scores and diagnostics. The skill scores are used to track the performance of the ensemble forecast system in oceans, atmosphere, land, and cryosphere. The verification work is strongly process-based and aims to assess the processes giving rise to variability in the climate system. These processes are assessed in the CAFE climate forecast system and in observations.

The predictable climate signal usually emerges from the oceans and relies on teleconnection processes to carry the signal to land regions. Our work assesses the processes via which these information transfers take place in order to better understand limitations on forecast skill and its spatial variability.

Southern Hemisphere storm tracks and extremes
Variability and extremes of climate are intimately related to the storm track regions in the atmosphere. Our work assesses the behaviour of the storm track and its relationship to extreme events, including drought around the hemisphere. This work aims to provide a basis for understanding and applying seasonal to multiyear forecasts of drought and other climate extremes.

Applications of climate forecasts
Our applications work seeks to identify those parts of the climate system where there is usable skill in seasonal to multiyear to decadal climate forecasts. Where skill does exist on these timescales it is usually moderate. A key challenge of our applications work is to apply moderate skill in sectors capable of benefiting from probabilistic forecast information to improve outcomes. We are working with the water resources and agricultural sectors to understand and apply forecast skill in strategic planning.

Forecast communication and visualisation
Many generators and users of climate forecasts are not well calibrated to the levels of skill that can usefully be expected and applied from climate forecasts. The form of forecast output from ensembles also poses challenges in interpretation and use. Our group is adapting and applying visualisation tools to more clearly describe the nature and implications of the climate forecasts.

View transcript for video here


Risbey, James; O’Kane, Terry; Monselesan, Didier; Franzke, Christian; Horenko, Illia (2018) On the dynamics of Austral heat waves Journal of Geophysical, Atmospheres 123 (1) 38-57¬†
Langlais, Clothilde; Lenton, Andrew; Matear, Richard; Monselesan, Didier; Legresy, Benoit; Rintoul, Steve (2018) Stationary Rossby Waves dominate subduction of Anthropogenic Carbon in the Southern Ocean
Scientific Reports 7, 17076
Risbey, James; Grose, Michael; Monselesan, Didier; O’Kane, Terry; Lewandowsky, Stephan (2017) Transient response of the global mean warming rate and its spatial variation Weather and Climate Extremes 8 (S1) 55-64
O’Kane, Terry; Monselesan, Didier; Risbey, James;¬† (2017) A multiscale re-examination of the Pacific South American Pattern Monthly Weather Review 145 (1) 379-402
Melbourne-Thomas, Jessica; Constable, Andrew; Fulton, Beth; Corney, Stuart; Blanchard, Julia; Boschetti, Fabio; Brown, Chris; Bustamante, Rodrigo; Cropp, Roger; Everett, Jason; Fleming, Aysha; Galton-Fenzi, Ben; Goldsworthy, Simon; Lara-Lopez, Ana; Little, Rich; Marzloff, Martin; Matear, Richard; Mongin, Mathieu; Hobday, Alistair; Plaganyi-Lloyd, Eva; Proctor, Roger; Lenton, Andrew; Risbey, James; Robson, Barbara; Smith, David; Summer, Michael; Trebilco, Rowan; Van Putten, Ingrid (2017) Integrated modelling to support decision-making for marine social-ecological systems in Australia ICES Journal of Marine Systems