Atmospheric water vapour transport in ACCESS-S2 and the potential for enhancing skill of subseasonal forecasts of precipitation

Kimberley J. Reid, Debra Hudson, Andrew D. King, Todd P. Lane, Andrew G. Marshall

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review


Extended warning of above-average and extreme precipitation is valuable to a wide range of stakeholders. However, the sporadic nature of precipitation makes it difficult to forecast skilfully beyond one week. Subseasonal forecasting is a growing area of science that aims to predict average weather conditions multiple weeks in advance using dynamical models. Building on recent work in this area, we test the hypothesis that using large-scale horizontal moisture transport as a predictor for precipitation may increase the forecast skill of the above-median and high-precipitation weeks on subseasonal time-scales. We analysed retrospective forecast (hindcast) sets from the Australian Bureau of Meteorology's latest operational subseasonal-to-seasonal forecasting model, ACCESS-S2, to compare the forecast skill of precipitation using integrated water vapour transport (IVT) as a proxy, compared to using precipitation forecasts directly. We show that ACCESS-S2 precipitation generally produces more skilful forecasts, except over some regions where IVT could be a useful additional diagnostic for warning of heavy precipitation events.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)68-80
Number of pages13
JournalQuarterly Journal of the Royal Meteorological Society
Issue number758
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2024


  • application/context
  • atmosphere
  • forecasting (methods)
  • physical phenomenon
  • rainfall
  • subseasonal
  • subseasonal prediction
  • synoptic
  • tools and methods

Cite this