loading page

Why moist dynamic processes matter for the sub-seasonal prediction of atmospheric blocking over Europe
  • +2
  • Jan Lucas Wandel,
  • Dominik Büeler,
  • Peter Knippertz,
  • Julian F. Quinting,
  • Christian Michael Grams
Jan Lucas Wandel
Deutscher Wetterdienst (DWD)

Corresponding Author:jan.wandel@dwd.de

Author Profile
Dominik Büeler
ETH Zürich
Author Profile
Peter Knippertz
Karlsruhe Institute of Technology
Author Profile
Julian F. Quinting
Karlsruhe Institute of Technology
Author Profile
Christian Michael Grams
Karlsruhe Institute of Technology
Author Profile


Numerical weather prediction (NWP) and climate models still struggle to correctly predict and represent atmospheric blocking over the European region (EuBL). In recent years, there has been growing evidence that latent heat release in midlatitude weather systems such as warm conveyor belts (WCBs) contribute significantly to the onset and maintenance of blocking anticyclones. In this study, we show that for the European Centre for Medium-Range Weather Forecast’s IFS reforecasts in extended winter (1997–2017) WCB activity around EuBL onsets becomes challenging to predict in pentad 3 (10–14 days) and beyond. This is in line with the short overall WCB forecast skill horizon of around 10 days and partly explains low EuBL skill in NWP models. However, we also show cases in which accurate WCB and EuBL forecasts are possible even in pentad 4 (15–19 days). These cases are associated with accurate WCB forecasts over the North Atlantic and North Pacific pointing towards a teleconnection between the two. Lastly, we find that WCB activity over the North Atlantic emerges way before the block is established and different pathways into EuBL exist in the reforecasts which are characterised by a westward shift of the main WCB inflow and outflow region compared to reanalysis. We conclude that despite intrinsic limits of predictability there is room to improve forecasts of EuBL onset by improving the representation of WCB activity in NWP models.
18 Aug 2023Submitted to ESS Open Archive
21 Aug 2023Published in ESS Open Archive