Francisco M. Lopes, Emanuel Dutra, Souhail Boussetta

Evaluation of Daily Temperature Extremes in the ECMWF Operational Weather Forecasts and ERA5 Reanalysis

  • Atmospheric Science
  • Environmental Science (miscellaneous)

In weather forecasting and climate monitoring, daily maximum and minimum air temperatures (TMAX and TMIN) are fundamental for operational and research purposes, from early warning of extreme events to climate change studies. This study provides an integrated evaluation of TMAX and TMIN from two European Centre for Medium-range Weather Forecasts (ECMWF) products: ERA5 reanalysis (1980–2019) and operational weather forecasts (2017–2021). Both products are evaluated using in situ observations from the Global Historical Climatology Network (GHCN). While the analyses span globally, emphasis is given to four key regions: Europe, East and West United States, and Australia. Results reveal a general underestimation of TMAX and overestimation of TMIN in both operational forecasts and ERA5, highlighting the limitation of the ECMWF model in estimating the amplitude of the diurnal cycle of air temperature. ERA5′s accuracy has improved over the past decade, due to enhanced constrain of land–atmosphere analysis streaming from more and higher-quality satellite data. Furthermore, ERA5 outperforms one-day-ahead weather forecasts, indicating that non-real-time dependent studies should rely on ERA5 instead of real-time operational forecasts. This study underscores the importance of ongoing research in model and data assimilation, considering the relevance of daily temperature extremes forecasting and reanalysis for operational meteorology and climate monitoring.

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