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Verification and Applications

Leader: James Risbey

Activity to demonstrate the utility of the climate forecasts and to develop applications.

Multiyear climate forecasts attempt to track year-to-year and persistent variability in the climate system.  That variability can have large impacts on climate sensitive industries such as agriculture, water, energy, and on land and marine ecosystems.  One of the goals of the forecast system is to harness the forecasts to help manage and reduce the impacts of climate variability and climate extremes such as drought.

To apply a climate forecast we need to assess whether it has meaningful skill, to understand the limitations of the forecast, and be able to diagnose the mechanisms that influence forecast skill.

Thus, a prerequisite for using climate forecasts is to verify the skill of the forecast (verification) and compare the model simulation of processes to those in the real world.  Our work on verification compares model forecasts with observed outcomes, and is strongly linked to the process component of the project in diagnosing the mechanisms leading to predictability.

The skill of any multiyear forecast system will be moderate for most climate variables of interest.  That said, moderate skill may be better than no skill, and the challenge in applying multiyear forecasts is to work closely with users and applications that can exploit moderate skill to improve the decisions and outcomes for their operations.  We have a number of pilot studies in progress to do this in the agriculture and marine sectors.