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Surface Track Discontinuity of Tropical Cyclones Crossing Taiwan: A Statistical Study

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  • 1 Central Weather Bureau, Taipei, Taiwan
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Abstract

Surface tracks of some cross-Taiwan tropical cyclones were discontinuous as a result of the blockage of the north-northeast–south-southwest-oriented Central Mountain Range (CMR). This paper tries to identify the variables that may be used to diagnose track continuity in advance. The track records of 131 westbound cross-Taiwan tropical cyclones between 1897 and 2009 are examined. It is found that the track continuity of a westbound cross-Taiwan tropical cyclone depends mostly upon the landfall location (YLF), the approaching direction (ANG), and the maximum wind (VMX) of the cyclone. According to the empirical probability of track continuity estimated from the data, the dependence on YLF, which is nonlinear and remarkably asymmetric with respect to the midpoint of the east coast, may be well approximated by a quadratic function of YLF. The nonlinearity and asymmetry can be interpreted in terms of the length scale of the CMR and the north–south antisymmetry of the cyclonic flow. The estimated dependence of track continuity on cyclone intensity and size may be approximated by a linear function of VMX. The estimated dependence of track continuity on ANG may be approximated by a single term of the modified variable DIR (=|ANG − 110|, where 110 is the direction, in degrees, perpendicular to the CMR’s long axis).

Using the 64 tracks between 1944 and 1996 as the training sample, a logistic regression equation model, built in terms of YLF, YLF square, DIR, and VMX gives an overall accuracy score of 89%. As to the probability estimates of individual tracks, 49 of the 64 tracks have estimated probabilities outside the (0.5 − 0.127, 0.5 + 0.127) RMS error range and are correctly classified. A prediction test using another set of 67 tracks not included in the model-training sample, scores a success rate of 82%. As to the probability predictions for individual tracks, 49 of the 67 tracks have predicted probabilities outside the RMS error range and are correctly predicted. These results confirm the appropriateness of the model and moreover demonstrate that the three parameters, YLF, DIR, and VMX, primarily control the surface track continuity of a westbound tropical cyclone crossing Taiwan.

Former consultant; retired.

Corresponding author address: Dr. M.-D. Cheng, Central Weather Bureau, 64 Gongyuan Rd., Taipei, Taiwan. E-mail: yuchan@rdc.cwb.gov.tw

Abstract

Surface tracks of some cross-Taiwan tropical cyclones were discontinuous as a result of the blockage of the north-northeast–south-southwest-oriented Central Mountain Range (CMR). This paper tries to identify the variables that may be used to diagnose track continuity in advance. The track records of 131 westbound cross-Taiwan tropical cyclones between 1897 and 2009 are examined. It is found that the track continuity of a westbound cross-Taiwan tropical cyclone depends mostly upon the landfall location (YLF), the approaching direction (ANG), and the maximum wind (VMX) of the cyclone. According to the empirical probability of track continuity estimated from the data, the dependence on YLF, which is nonlinear and remarkably asymmetric with respect to the midpoint of the east coast, may be well approximated by a quadratic function of YLF. The nonlinearity and asymmetry can be interpreted in terms of the length scale of the CMR and the north–south antisymmetry of the cyclonic flow. The estimated dependence of track continuity on cyclone intensity and size may be approximated by a linear function of VMX. The estimated dependence of track continuity on ANG may be approximated by a single term of the modified variable DIR (=|ANG − 110|, where 110 is the direction, in degrees, perpendicular to the CMR’s long axis).

Using the 64 tracks between 1944 and 1996 as the training sample, a logistic regression equation model, built in terms of YLF, YLF square, DIR, and VMX gives an overall accuracy score of 89%. As to the probability estimates of individual tracks, 49 of the 64 tracks have estimated probabilities outside the (0.5 − 0.127, 0.5 + 0.127) RMS error range and are correctly classified. A prediction test using another set of 67 tracks not included in the model-training sample, scores a success rate of 82%. As to the probability predictions for individual tracks, 49 of the 67 tracks have predicted probabilities outside the RMS error range and are correctly predicted. These results confirm the appropriateness of the model and moreover demonstrate that the three parameters, YLF, DIR, and VMX, primarily control the surface track continuity of a westbound tropical cyclone crossing Taiwan.

Former consultant; retired.

Corresponding author address: Dr. M.-D. Cheng, Central Weather Bureau, 64 Gongyuan Rd., Taipei, Taiwan. E-mail: yuchan@rdc.cwb.gov.tw
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