2019 Volume 15A Pages 19-24
Extremely heavy rainfall events occurred over western Japan in early July 2018. This study assesses the predictability of these events for the period 5-7 July using three operational medium-range ensemble forecasts available from the European Centre for Medium-range Weather Forecasts (ECMWF), the Japan Meteorological Agency (JMA), and the National Centers for Environmental Prediction (NCEP), and ensemble simulations conducted with an ECMWF model and NCEP operational ensemble initial conditions. All three operational ensembles predicted extreme rainfall on 5-6 July at lead times of ≤ 6 days, indicating the high predictability of this event. However, the extreme rainfall event of 6-7 July was less predictable. The NCEP forecasts, initialised on 30 June, performed better at predicting this event than the other operational forecasts. The JMA forecasts initialised on 1 July showed improved predictability; however, the ECMWF forecasts initialised after 30 June showed only gradual improvements as the initialisation time progressed. The ensemble simulations revealed that the lower predictability of the rainfall in the ECMWF forecasts on 6-7 July can be attributed to the model rather than to the initial conditions. Accurate prediction of the North Pacific Subtropical High is a prerequisite for accurate prediction of such extreme rainfall events.