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Predictive Skill, Predictive Capability and Predictability in Ocean Forecasting

Robinson, A.R., P.J. Haley, P.F.J. Lermusiaux and W.G. Leslie, 2002. Predictive Skill, Predictive Capability and Predictability in Ocean Forecasting. Proceedings of "The OCEANS 2002 MTS/IEEE" conference, Holland Publications, 787-794.

We discuss the concepts involved in the evaluation and quantitative verification of ocean forecasts and present two predictive skill experiments to develop and research these concepts, carried out in the North Atlantic and Mediterranean Sea in 2001 and 2002. Ocean forecasting involves complex ocean observing and prediction systems for ocean regions with multi-scale interdisciplinary dynamical processes and strong, intermittent events. Now that ocean forecasting is becoming more common, it is critically important to interpret and evaluate regional forecasts in order to establish their usefulness to the scientific and applied communities. The Assessment of Skill for Coastal Ocean Transients (ASCOT) project is a series of real-time Coastal Predictive Skill (CPSE) and Rapid Environmental Assessment (REA) experiments and simulations focused on quantitative skill evaluation, carried out by the Harvard Ocean Prediction System group in collaboration with the NATO SACLANT Undersea Research Centre. ASCOT-01 was carried out in Massachusetts Bay and the Gulf of Maine in June 2001. ASCOT-02 took place in May 2002 in the Corsican Channel near the island of Elba in the Mediterranean Sea. Results from the ASCOT exercises highlight the dual use of data for skill evaluation and assimilation, real-time adaptive sampling and skill optimization and present both real-time and a posteriori evaluations of predictive skill and predictive capability.