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Hydrology and Earth System Sciences An interactive open-access journal of the European Geosciences Union
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https://doi.org/10.5194/hess-2020-532
© Author(s) 2020. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.
https://doi.org/10.5194/hess-2020-532
© Author(s) 2020. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

  16 Oct 2020

16 Oct 2020

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This preprint is currently under review for the journal HESS.

Daily ensemble river discharge reforecasts and real-time forecasts from the operational Global Flood Awareness System

Shaun Harrigan1, Ervin Zoster1,2, Hannah Cloke2,3,4,5, Peter Salamon6, and Christel Prudhomme1,7,8 Shaun Harrigan et al.
  • 1Forecast Department, European Centre for Medium-Range Weather Forecasts (ECMWF), Reading, UK
  • 2Department of Geography and Environmental Science, University of Reading, Reading, UK
  • 3Department of Meteorology, University of Reading, Reading, UK
  • 4Department of Earth Sciences, Uppsala University, Uppsala, Sweden
  • 5Centre of Natural Hazards and Disaster Science, CNDS, Uppsala, Sweden
  • 6European Commission, Joint Research Centre (JRC), Ispra, Italy
  • 7Centre for Ecology and Hydrology (CEH), Wallingford, UK
  • 8Department of Geography and Environment, University of Loughborough, Loughborough, UK

Abstract. Operational global-scale hydrological forecasting systems are widely used to help manage hydrological extremes such as floods and droughts. The vast amounts of raw data that underpin forecast systems and the ability to generate information on forecast skill have, until now, not been publicly available. As part of the Global Flood Awareness System (GloFAS; https://www.globalfloods.eu/) service evolution, in this paper daily ensemble river discharge reforecasts and real-time forecast datasets are made free and openly available through the Copernicus Climate Change Service (C3S) Climate Data Store (CDS). They include real-time forecast data starting on 1 January 2020 updated operationally every day and a 20-year set of reforecasts and associated metadata, available through the dedicated GloFAS FTP service. This paper describes the model components and configuration used to generate the real-time river discharge forecasts and the reforecasts. An evaluation of ensemble forecast skill using the Continuous Ranked Probability Skill Score (CRPSS) was also undertaken for river points around the globe. Results show that GloFAS is skilful in over 93thinsp;% of catchments in the short- (1- to 3-days) and medium-range (5- to 15-days) against a persistence benchmark forecast, and skilful in over 80 % of catchments out to the extended-range (16- to 30-days) against a climatological benchmark forecast. However, the strength of skill varies considerably by location with GloFAS found to have no or negative skill at longer lead times in broad hydroclimatic regions in tropical Africa, western coast of South America, and catchments dominated by snow and ice in high northern latitudes. Forecast skill is summarised as a new headline skill score to be added as a layer on the GloFAS forecast Web Map Viewer at the next GloFAS cycle release, expected Autumn 2020, to aid user’s interpretation and understanding of forecast quality.

Shaun Harrigan et al.

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Shaun Harrigan et al.

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Short summary
Real-time river discharge forecasts and reforecasts from the Global Flood Awareness System (GloFAS) have been made publicly available, together with an evaluation of forecast skill at the global scale. Results show that GloFAS is skilful in over 93 % of catchments in the short- (1- to 3-days) and medium-range (5- to 15-days) and skilful in over 80 % of catchments out to the extended-range (16- to 30-days). Skill is summarised in a new layer on the GloFAS Web Map Viewer to aid decision making.
Real-time river discharge forecasts and reforecasts from the Global Flood Awareness System...
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