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Reexamination of Tropical Cyclone Wind–Pressure Relationships

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  • 1 CIRA, Colorado State University, Fort Collins, Colorado
  • | 2 NOAA/NESDIS, Fort Collins, Colorado
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Abstract

Tropical cyclone wind–pressure relationships are reexamined using 15 yr of minimum sea level pressure estimates, numerical analysis fields, and best-track intensities. Minimum sea level pressure is estimated from aircraft reconnaissance or measured from dropwindsondes, and maximum wind speeds are interpolated from best-track maximum 1-min wind speed estimates. The aircraft data were collected primarily in the Atlantic but also include eastern and central North Pacific cases. Global numerical analyses were used to estimate tropical cyclone size and environmental pressure associated with each observation. Using this dataset (3801 points), the influences of latitude, tropical cyclone size, environmental pressure, and intensification trend on the tropical cyclone wind–pressure relationships were examined. Findings suggest that latitude, size, and environmental pressure, which all can be quantified in an operational and postanalysis setting, are related to predictable changes in the wind–pressure relationships. These factors can be combined into equations that estimate winds given pressure and estimate pressure given winds with greater accuracy than current methodologies. In independent testing during the 2005 hurricane season (524 cases), these new wind–pressure relationships resulted in mean absolute errors of 5.3 hPa and 6.2 kt compared with the 7.7 hPa and 9.0 kt that resulted from using the standard Atlantic Dvorak wind–pressure relationship. These new wind–pressure relationships are then used to evaluate several operational wind–pressure relationships. These intercomparisons have led to several recommendations for operational tropical cyclone centers and those interested in reanalyzing past tropical cyclone events.

Corresponding author address: John Knaff, CIRA, Colorado State University, Fort Collins, CO 80523-1375. Email: knaff@cira.colostate.edu

Abstract

Tropical cyclone wind–pressure relationships are reexamined using 15 yr of minimum sea level pressure estimates, numerical analysis fields, and best-track intensities. Minimum sea level pressure is estimated from aircraft reconnaissance or measured from dropwindsondes, and maximum wind speeds are interpolated from best-track maximum 1-min wind speed estimates. The aircraft data were collected primarily in the Atlantic but also include eastern and central North Pacific cases. Global numerical analyses were used to estimate tropical cyclone size and environmental pressure associated with each observation. Using this dataset (3801 points), the influences of latitude, tropical cyclone size, environmental pressure, and intensification trend on the tropical cyclone wind–pressure relationships were examined. Findings suggest that latitude, size, and environmental pressure, which all can be quantified in an operational and postanalysis setting, are related to predictable changes in the wind–pressure relationships. These factors can be combined into equations that estimate winds given pressure and estimate pressure given winds with greater accuracy than current methodologies. In independent testing during the 2005 hurricane season (524 cases), these new wind–pressure relationships resulted in mean absolute errors of 5.3 hPa and 6.2 kt compared with the 7.7 hPa and 9.0 kt that resulted from using the standard Atlantic Dvorak wind–pressure relationship. These new wind–pressure relationships are then used to evaluate several operational wind–pressure relationships. These intercomparisons have led to several recommendations for operational tropical cyclone centers and those interested in reanalyzing past tropical cyclone events.

Corresponding author address: John Knaff, CIRA, Colorado State University, Fort Collins, CO 80523-1375. Email: knaff@cira.colostate.edu

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