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Passive-Microwave-Enhanced Statistical Hurricane Intensity Prediction Scheme

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  • 1 Department of Atmospheric Science, University of Alabama in Huntsville, Huntsville, Alabama
  • | 2 NOAA/NESDIS, Fort Collins, Colorado
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Abstract

The formulation and testing of an enhanced Statistical Hurricane Intensity Prediction Scheme (SHIPS) using new predictors derived from passive microwave imagery is presented. Passive microwave imagery is acquired for tropical cyclones in the Atlantic and eastern North Pacific basins between 1995 and 2003. Predictors relating to the inner-core (within 100 km of center) precipitation and convective characteristics of tropical cyclones are derived. These predictors are combined with the climatological and environmental predictors used by SHIPS in a simple linear regression model with change in tropical cyclone intensity as the predictand. Separate linear regression models are produced for forecast intervals of 12, 24, 36, 48, 60, and 72 h from the time of a microwave sensor overpass. Analysis of the resulting models indicates that microwave predictors, which provide an intensification signal to the model when above-average precipitation and convective signatures are present, have comparable importance to vertical wind shear and SST-related predictors. The addition of the microwave predictors produces a 2%–8% improvement in performance for the Atlantic and eastern North Pacific tropical cyclone intensity forecasts out to 72 h when compared with an environmental-only model trained from the same sample. Improvement is also observed when compared against the current version of SHIPS. The improvement in both basins is greatest for substantially intensifying or weakening tropical cyclones. Improvement statistics are based on calculating the forecast error for each tropical cyclone while it is held out of the training sample to approximate the use of independent data.

Corresponding author address: Thomas Jones, Dept. of Atmospheric Science, University of Alabama in Huntsville, Rm. 4015, 320 Sparkman Dr., Huntsville, AL 35805. Email: tjones@nsstc.uah.edu

Abstract

The formulation and testing of an enhanced Statistical Hurricane Intensity Prediction Scheme (SHIPS) using new predictors derived from passive microwave imagery is presented. Passive microwave imagery is acquired for tropical cyclones in the Atlantic and eastern North Pacific basins between 1995 and 2003. Predictors relating to the inner-core (within 100 km of center) precipitation and convective characteristics of tropical cyclones are derived. These predictors are combined with the climatological and environmental predictors used by SHIPS in a simple linear regression model with change in tropical cyclone intensity as the predictand. Separate linear regression models are produced for forecast intervals of 12, 24, 36, 48, 60, and 72 h from the time of a microwave sensor overpass. Analysis of the resulting models indicates that microwave predictors, which provide an intensification signal to the model when above-average precipitation and convective signatures are present, have comparable importance to vertical wind shear and SST-related predictors. The addition of the microwave predictors produces a 2%–8% improvement in performance for the Atlantic and eastern North Pacific tropical cyclone intensity forecasts out to 72 h when compared with an environmental-only model trained from the same sample. Improvement is also observed when compared against the current version of SHIPS. The improvement in both basins is greatest for substantially intensifying or weakening tropical cyclones. Improvement statistics are based on calculating the forecast error for each tropical cyclone while it is held out of the training sample to approximate the use of independent data.

Corresponding author address: Thomas Jones, Dept. of Atmospheric Science, University of Alabama in Huntsville, Rm. 4015, 320 Sparkman Dr., Huntsville, AL 35805. Email: tjones@nsstc.uah.edu

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