UBC Faculty Research and Publications

Hydrometeorological Short-Range Ensemble Forecasts in Complex Terrain. Part II: Economic Evaluation. McCollor, Doug; Stull, Roland B.


Two economic models are employed to perform a value assessment of short-range ensemble forecasts of 24-h precipitation probabilities for hydroelectric reservoir operation. Using a static cost–loss model, the value of the probability information is compared to the values of a deterministic control high-resolution forecast and of an ensemble-average forecast for forecast days 1 and 2. It is found that the probabilistic ensemble forecast provides value to a much wider range of hydroelectric operators than either the deterministic high-resolution forecast or the ensemble-average forecast, although for a small subset of operators the value of the three forecasts is the same. Forecasts for day-1 precipitation provide measurably higher value than forecasts for day-2 precipitation because of the loss of skill in the longer-range forecasts. A decision theory model provides a continuous-variable weighting of a user-specific utility function. The utility function weights are supplied by the ensemble prediction system, and the outcome is compared with weights calculated from a deterministic model, from the ensemble average, and from climatology. It is found that the methods employing the full ensemble and the ensemble average outperform the single deterministic model and climatology for the hydroelectric reservoir scenario studied.

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