A Comparison of Adaptive Observing Guidance for Atlantic Tropical Cyclones

S. J. Majumdar RSMAS, Division of Meteorology and Physical Oceanography, University of Miami, Miami, Florida

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S. D. Aberson NOAA/AOML Hurricane Research Division, Miami, Florida

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C. H. Bishop Naval Research Laboratory, Monterey, California

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R. Buizza European Centre for Medium-Range Weather Forecasts, Reading, United Kingdom

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M. S. Peng Naval Research Laboratory, Monterey, California

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C. A. Reynolds Naval Research Laboratory, Monterey, California

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Abstract

Airborne adaptive observations have been collected for more than two decades in the neighborhood of tropical cyclones, to attempt to improve short-range forecasts of cyclone track. However, only simple subjective strategies for adaptive observations have been used, and the utility of objective strategies to improve tropical cyclone forecasts remains unexplored. Two objective techniques that have been used extensively for midlatitude adaptive observing programs, and the current strategy based on the ensemble deep-layer mean (DLM) wind variance, are compared quantitatively using two metrics. The ensemble transform Kalman filter (ETKF) uses ensembles from NCEP and the ECMWF. Total-energy singular vectors (TESVs) are computed by the ECMWF and the Naval Research Laboratory, using their respective global models. Comparisons of 78 guidance products for 2-day forecasts during the 2004 Atlantic hurricane season are made, on both continental and localized scales relevant to synoptic surveillance missions. The ECMWF and NRL TESV guidance identifies similar large-scale target regions in 90% of the cases, but are less similar to each other in the local tropical cyclone environment (56% of the cases) with a more stringent criterion for similarity. For major hurricanes, all techniques usually indicate targets close to the storm center. For weaker tropical cyclones, the TESV guidance selects similar targets to those from the ETKF (DLM wind variance) in only 30% (20%) of the cases. ETKF guidance using the ECMWF ensemble is more like that provided by the NCEP ensemble (and DLM wind variance) for major hurricanes than for weaker tropical cyclones. Minor differences in these results occur when a different metric based on the ranking of fixed storm-relative regions is used.

Corresponding author address: Dr. Sharanya J. Majumdar, RSMAS, Division of Meteorology and Physical Oceanography, University of Miami, 4600 Rickenbacker Causeway, Miami, FL 33149-1098. Email: smajumdar@rsmas.miami.edu

Abstract

Airborne adaptive observations have been collected for more than two decades in the neighborhood of tropical cyclones, to attempt to improve short-range forecasts of cyclone track. However, only simple subjective strategies for adaptive observations have been used, and the utility of objective strategies to improve tropical cyclone forecasts remains unexplored. Two objective techniques that have been used extensively for midlatitude adaptive observing programs, and the current strategy based on the ensemble deep-layer mean (DLM) wind variance, are compared quantitatively using two metrics. The ensemble transform Kalman filter (ETKF) uses ensembles from NCEP and the ECMWF. Total-energy singular vectors (TESVs) are computed by the ECMWF and the Naval Research Laboratory, using their respective global models. Comparisons of 78 guidance products for 2-day forecasts during the 2004 Atlantic hurricane season are made, on both continental and localized scales relevant to synoptic surveillance missions. The ECMWF and NRL TESV guidance identifies similar large-scale target regions in 90% of the cases, but are less similar to each other in the local tropical cyclone environment (56% of the cases) with a more stringent criterion for similarity. For major hurricanes, all techniques usually indicate targets close to the storm center. For weaker tropical cyclones, the TESV guidance selects similar targets to those from the ETKF (DLM wind variance) in only 30% (20%) of the cases. ETKF guidance using the ECMWF ensemble is more like that provided by the NCEP ensemble (and DLM wind variance) for major hurricanes than for weaker tropical cyclones. Minor differences in these results occur when a different metric based on the ranking of fixed storm-relative regions is used.

Corresponding author address: Dr. Sharanya J. Majumdar, RSMAS, Division of Meteorology and Physical Oceanography, University of Miami, 4600 Rickenbacker Causeway, Miami, FL 33149-1098. Email: smajumdar@rsmas.miami.edu

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