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An Updated Statistical Hurricane Intensity Prediction Scheme (SHIPS) for the Atlantic and Eastern North Pacific Basins

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  • 1 National Environmental Satellite, Data and Information Service, Fort Collins, Colorado
  • | 2 Hurricane Research Division, Miami, Florida
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Abstract

Updates to the Statistical Hurricane Intensity Prediction Scheme (SHIPS) for the Atlantic basin are described. SHIPS combines climatological, persistence, and synoptic predictors to forecast intensity changes using a multiple regression technique. The original version of the model was developed for the Atlantic basin and was run in near–real time at the Hurricane Research Division beginning in 1993. In 1996, the model was incorporated into the National Hurricane Center operational forecast cycle, and a version was developed for the eastern North Pacific basin. Analysis of the forecast errors for the period 1993–96 shows that SHIPS had little skill relative to forecasts based upon climatology and persistence. However, SHIPS had significant skill in both the Atlantic and east Pacific basins during the 1997 hurricane season.

The regression coefficients for SHIPS were rederived after each hurricane season since 1993 so that the previous season’s forecast cases were included in the sample. Modifications to the model itself were also made after each season. Prior to the 1997 season, the synoptic predictors were determined only from an analysis at the beginning of the forecast period. Thus, SHIPS could be considered a “statistical–synoptic” model. For the 1997 season, methods were developed to remove the tropical cyclone circulation from the global model analyses and to include synoptic predictors from forecast fields, so the current version of SHIPS is a “statistical–dynamical” model. It was only after the modifications for 1997 that the model showed significant intensity forecast skill.

Corresponding author address: Dr. Mark DeMaria, NESDIS/CIRA/RAMMT, Colorado State University, West Laporte Ave., Fort Collins, CO 80523.

Email: demaria@cira.colostate.edu

Abstract

Updates to the Statistical Hurricane Intensity Prediction Scheme (SHIPS) for the Atlantic basin are described. SHIPS combines climatological, persistence, and synoptic predictors to forecast intensity changes using a multiple regression technique. The original version of the model was developed for the Atlantic basin and was run in near–real time at the Hurricane Research Division beginning in 1993. In 1996, the model was incorporated into the National Hurricane Center operational forecast cycle, and a version was developed for the eastern North Pacific basin. Analysis of the forecast errors for the period 1993–96 shows that SHIPS had little skill relative to forecasts based upon climatology and persistence. However, SHIPS had significant skill in both the Atlantic and east Pacific basins during the 1997 hurricane season.

The regression coefficients for SHIPS were rederived after each hurricane season since 1993 so that the previous season’s forecast cases were included in the sample. Modifications to the model itself were also made after each season. Prior to the 1997 season, the synoptic predictors were determined only from an analysis at the beginning of the forecast period. Thus, SHIPS could be considered a “statistical–synoptic” model. For the 1997 season, methods were developed to remove the tropical cyclone circulation from the global model analyses and to include synoptic predictors from forecast fields, so the current version of SHIPS is a “statistical–dynamical” model. It was only after the modifications for 1997 that the model showed significant intensity forecast skill.

Corresponding author address: Dr. Mark DeMaria, NESDIS/CIRA/RAMMT, Colorado State University, West Laporte Ave., Fort Collins, CO 80523.

Email: demaria@cira.colostate.edu

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