Ensemble forecasting with a stochastic convective parametrization based on equilibrium statistics
Abstract. The stochastic Plant-Craig scheme for deep convection was implemented in the COSMO mesoscale model and used for ensemble forecasting. Ensembles consisting of 100 48-h forecasts at 7 km horizontal resolution were generated for a 2000×2000 km domain covering central Europe. Forecasts were made for seven case studies characterized by different large-scale meteorological environments. Each 100 member ensemble consisted of 10 groups of 10 members, with each group driven by boundary and initial conditions from a selected member from the global ECMWF Ensemble Prediction System. The precipitation variability within and among these groups of members was computed, and it was found that the relative contribution to the ensemble variance introduced by the stochastic convection scheme was substantial, amounting to as much as 76% of the total variance in the ensemble in one of the studied cases. The impact of the scheme was not confined to the grid scale, and typically contributed 25–50% of the total variance even after the precipitation fields had been smoothed to a resolution of 35 km. The variability of precipitation introduced by the scheme was approximately proportional to the total amount of convection that occurred, while the variability due to large-scale conditions changed from case to case, being highest in cases exhibiting strong mid-tropospheric flow and pronounced meso- to synoptic scale vorticity extrema. The stochastic scheme was thus found to be an important source of variability in precipitation cases of weak large-scale flow lacking strong vorticity extrema, but high convective activity.