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Basic Diagnosis and Prediction of Persistent Contrail Occurrence Using...

Duda, D., and P. Minnis (2009), Basic Diagnosis and Prediction of Persistent Contrail Occurrence Using High-Resolution Numerical Weather Analyses/Forecasts and Logistic Regression. Part I: Effects of Random Error, J. Appl. Meteor. Climat., 48, 1780-1789, doi:10.1175/2009JAMC2056.1.

Straightforward application of the Schmidt–Appleman contrail formation criteria to diagnose persistent contrail occurrence from numerical weather prediction data is hindered by significant bias errors in the uppertropospheric humidity. Logistic models of contrail occurrence have been proposed to overcome this problem, but basic questions remain about how random measurement error may affect their accuracy. A set of 5000 synthetic contrail observations is created to study the effects of random error in these probabilistic models. The simulated observations are based on distributions of temperature, humidity, and vertical velocity derived from Advanced Regional Prediction System (ARPS) weather analyses. The logistic models created from the simulated observations were evaluated using two common statistical measures of model accuracy: the percent correct (PC) and the Hanssen–Kuipers discriminant (HKD). To convert the probabilistic results of the logistic models into a dichotomous yes/no choice suitable for the statistical measures, two critical probability thresholds are considered. The HKD scores are higher (i.e., the forecasts are more skillful) when the climatological frequency of contrail occurrence is used as the critical threshold, whereas the PC scores are higher (i.e., the forecasts are more accurate) when the critical probability threshold is 0.5. For both thresholds, typical random errors in temperature, relative humidity, and vertical velocity are found to be small enough to allow for accurate logistic models of contrail occurrence. The accuracy of the models developed from synthetic data is over 85% for the prediction of both contrail occurrence and nonoccurrence, although, in practice, larger errors would be anticipated.

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Modeling Analysis and Prediction Program (MAP)