Towards an Improved Ensemble Precipitation Forecast: A Probabilistic Post-Processing Approach

Published In

Journal of Hydrology

Document Type


Publication Date



Recently, ensemble post-processing (EPP) has become a commonly used approach for reducing the uncertainty in forcing data and hence hydrologic simulation. The procedure was introduced to build ensemble precipitation forecasts based on the statistical relationship between observations and forecasts. More specifically, the approach relies on a transfer function that is developed based on a bivariate joint distribution between the observations and the simulations in the historical period. The transfer function is used to post-process the forecast. In this study, we propose a Bayesian EPP approach based on copula functions (COP-EPP) to improve the reliability of the precipitation ensemble forecast. Evaluation of the copula-based method is carried out by comparing the performance of the generated ensemble precipitation with the outputs from an existing procedure, i.e. mixed type meta-Gaussian distribution. Monthly precipitation from Climate Forecast System Reanalysis (CFS) and gridded observation from Parameter-Elevation Relationships on Independent Slopes Model (PRISM) have been employed to generate the post-processed ensemble precipitation. Deterministic and probabilistic verification frameworks are utilized in order to evaluate the outputs from the proposed technique. Distribution of seasonal precipitation for the generated ensemble from the copula-based technique is compared to the observation and raw forecasts for three sub-basins located in the Western United States. Results show that both techniques are successful in producing reliable and unbiased ensemble forecast, however, the COP-EPP demonstrates considerable improvement in the ensemble forecast in both deterministic and probabilistic verification, in particular in characterizing the extreme events in wet seasons.



Persistent Identifier