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Seasonal predictability of wintertime precipitation in Europe using the Snow Advance Index

Journal: Journal of Climate
Year: 2012   Volume: 25
Initial page: 4023   Last page: 4028
Status: Published
PDF file: 2012_Brands_JClim.pdf
Link to PDF: Online paper
DOI: 10.1175/JCLI-D-12-00083.1

In this study, we test the applicability of Eurasian snow cover increase in October, as described by the recently published Snow Advance Index (SAI), for forecasting December-January-February precipitation totals in Europe. On the basis of a classical correlation analysis, global significance was obtained and locally significant correlation coefficients of up to 0.89 and -0.78 were found for the Iberian Peninsula and southern Norway respectively. For a more robust assessment of these results, a linear regression approach is followed to hindcast the precipitation sums in a one-year-out cross-validation framework, using the SAI index as the only predictor variable. With this simple empirical approach, local scale precipitation could be reproduced with a correlation of up to 0.84 and 0.71 for the above mentioned regions, while catchment aggregations on the Iberian Peninsula could be hindcasted with a correlation of up to 0.73. These findings are confirmed when repeating the hindcast-approach to a degraded but much longer version of the SAI. With the recommendation to monitor the robustness of these results as the sample size of the SAI increases, we encourage its use for the purpose of seasonal forecasting in southern Norway and the Iberian Peninsula, where general circulation models are known to perform poorly for the variable in question.