Predicting Atlantic Tropical Cyclone Seasonal Activity in April

Elinor Keith Department of Marine, Earth, and Atmospheric Sciences, North Carolina State University, Raleigh, North Carolina

Search for other papers by Elinor Keith in
Current site
Google Scholar
PubMed
Close
and
Lian Xie Department of Marine, Earth, and Atmospheric Sciences, North Carolina State University, Raleigh, North Carolina

Search for other papers by Lian Xie in
Current site
Google Scholar
PubMed
Close
Restricted access

Abstract

Seasonal hurricane forecasts are continuing to develop skill, although they are still subject to large uncertainties. This study uses a new methodology of cross-correlating variables against empirical orthogonal functions (EOFs) of the hurricane track density function (HTDF) to select predictors. These predictors are used in a regression model for forecasting seasonal named storm, hurricane, and major hurricane activity in the entire Atlantic, the Caribbean Sea, and the Gulf of Mexico. In addition, a scheme for predicting landfalling tropical systems along the U.S. Gulf of Mexico, southeastern, and northeastern coastlines is developed, but predicting landfalling storms adds an extra layer of uncertainty to an already complex problem, and on the whole these predictions do not perform as well.

The model performs well in the basin-wide predictions over the entire Atlantic and Caribbean, with the predictions showing an improvement over climatology and random chance at a 95% confidence level. Over the Gulf of Mexico, only named storms showed that level of predictability. Predicting landfalls proves more difficult, and only the prediction of named storms along the U.S. southeastern and Gulf coasts shows an improvement over random chance at the 95% confidence level. Tropical cyclone activity along the U.S. northeastern coast is found to be unpredictable in this model; with the rarity of events, the model is unstable.

Corresponding author address: Lian Xie, Dept. of Marine, Earth, and Atmospheric Sciences, North Carolina State University, Box 8208, Raleigh, NC 27695-8208. Email: xie@ncsu.edu

Abstract

Seasonal hurricane forecasts are continuing to develop skill, although they are still subject to large uncertainties. This study uses a new methodology of cross-correlating variables against empirical orthogonal functions (EOFs) of the hurricane track density function (HTDF) to select predictors. These predictors are used in a regression model for forecasting seasonal named storm, hurricane, and major hurricane activity in the entire Atlantic, the Caribbean Sea, and the Gulf of Mexico. In addition, a scheme for predicting landfalling tropical systems along the U.S. Gulf of Mexico, southeastern, and northeastern coastlines is developed, but predicting landfalling storms adds an extra layer of uncertainty to an already complex problem, and on the whole these predictions do not perform as well.

The model performs well in the basin-wide predictions over the entire Atlantic and Caribbean, with the predictions showing an improvement over climatology and random chance at a 95% confidence level. Over the Gulf of Mexico, only named storms showed that level of predictability. Predicting landfalls proves more difficult, and only the prediction of named storms along the U.S. southeastern and Gulf coasts shows an improvement over random chance at the 95% confidence level. Tropical cyclone activity along the U.S. northeastern coast is found to be unpredictable in this model; with the rarity of events, the model is unstable.

Corresponding author address: Lian Xie, Dept. of Marine, Earth, and Atmospheric Sciences, North Carolina State University, Box 8208, Raleigh, NC 27695-8208. Email: xie@ncsu.edu

Save
  • Anderson, J. R., and Gyakum J. R. , 1989: A diagnostic study of Pacific basin circulation regimes as determined from extratropical cyclone tracks. Mon. Wea. Rev., 117 , 26722686.

    • Crossref
    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Barnston, A. G., Glantz M. H. , and He Y. X. , 1999: Predictive skill of statistical and dynamical climate models in SST forecasts during the 1997–98 El Niño episode and the 1998 La Niña onset. Bull. Amer. Meteor. Soc., 80 , 217243.

    • Crossref
    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Bove, M. C., Elsner J. B. , Landsea C. W. , Niu X. F. , and O’Brien J. J. , 1998: Effect of El Niño on U.S. landfalling hurricanes, revisited. Bull. Amer. Meteor. Soc., 79 , 24772482.

    • Crossref
    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Box, G. E. P., and Cox D. R. , 1964: An Analysis of Transformations. J. Roy. Stat. Soc., 26B , 211252.

  • Chelliah, M., and Bell G. D. , 2004: Tropical multidecadal and interannual climate variability in the NCEP–NCAR reanalysis. J. Climate, 17 , 17771803.

    • Crossref
    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Chiang, J. C. H., and Vimont D. J. , 2004: Analogous Pacific and Atlantic meridional modes of tropical atmosphere–ocean variability. J. Climate, 17 , 41434158.

    • Crossref
    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Demuth, J., DeMaria M. , and Knaff J. A. , 2006: Improvement of Advanced Microwave Sounder Unit tropical cyclone intensity and size estimation algorithms. J. Appl. Meteor. Climatol., 45 , 15731581.

    • Crossref
    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Elsner, J. B., 2003: Tracking hurricanes. Bull. Amer. Meteor. Soc., 84 , 353356.

  • Elsner, J. B., and Schmertmann C. P. , 1994: Assessing forecast skill through cross validation. Wea. Forecasting, 9 , 619624.

    • Crossref
    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Emanuel, K. A., 1987: The dependence of hurricane intensity on climate. Nature, 326 , 483485.

  • Emanuel, K. A., 1991: The theory of hurricanes. Annu. Rev. Fluid Mech., 23 , 179196.

  • Enfield, D. B., Mestas-Nunez A. M. , Mayer D. A. , and Cid-Serrano L. , 1999: How ubiquitous is the dipole relationship in tropical Atlantic sea surface temperatures? J. Geophys. Res., 104 , 78417848.

    • Crossref
    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Enfield, D. B., Mestas-Nunez A. M. , and Trimble P. J. , 2001: The Atlantic multidecadal oscillation and its relation to rainfall and river flows in the continental U.S. Geophys. Res. Lett., 28 , 20772080.

    • Crossref
    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Epstein, E. S., 1969: A scoring system for probability forecasts of ranked categories. J. Appl. Meteor., 8 , 985987.

  • Goddard, L., Barnston A. G. , and Mason S. J. , 2003: Evaluation of the IRI’s “net assessment” seasonal climate forecasts 1997–2001. Bull. Amer. Meteor. Soc., 84 , 17611781.

    • Crossref
    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Goldenberg, S. B., Landsea C. W. , Mestas-Nunez A. M. , and Gray W. M. , 2001: The recent increase in Atlantic hurricane activity: Causes and implications. Science, 293 , 474479.

    • Crossref
    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Gray, W. M., 1984: Atlantic seasonal hurricane frequency. 1. El Niño and 30-mb quasi-biennial oscillation influences. Mon. Wea. Rev., 112 , 16491668.

    • Crossref
    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Gray, W. M., 1990: Strong sssociation between West African rainfall and United States landfall of intense hurricanes. Science, 249 , 12511256.

    • Crossref
    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Halide, H., and Ridd P. , 2008: Complicated ENSO models do not significantly outperform very simple ENSO models. Int. J. Climatol., 28 , 219233.

  • Knaff, J. A., 1997: Implications of summertime sea level pressure anomalies in the tropical Atlantic region. J. Climate, 10 , 789804.

    • Crossref
    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Knaff, J. A., 1998: Predicting summertime Caribbean pressure in early April. Wea. Forecasting, 13 , 740752.

  • Kossin, J. P., and Vimont D. J. , 2007: A more general framework for understanding Atlantic hurricane variability and trends. Bull. Amer. Meteor. Soc., 88 , 1767.

    • Crossref
    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Kossin, J. P., Knaff J. A. , Berger H. I. , Herndon D. C. , Cram T. A. , Velden C. S. , Murnane R. J. , and Hawkins J. D. , 2007: Estimating hurricane wind structure in the absence of aircraft reconnaissance. Wea. Forecasting, 22 , 89101.

    • Crossref
    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Landsea, C. W., and Knaff J. A. , 2000: How much skill was there in forecasting the very strong 1997–98 El Nino? Bull. Amer. Meteor. Soc., 81 , 21072119.

    • Crossref
    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Lorenz, E. N., 1956: Empirical orthogonal functions and statistical weather prediction. Statistical forecasting project, Science Rep. 1. Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, MA, 48 pp.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Rawlings, J. O., Pantula S. G. , and Dickey D. A. , 2001: Applied Regression Analysis: A Research Tool. 2nd ed. Springer, 657 pp.

  • R Development Core Team, 2006a: The R Reference Manual—Base Package. Vol. 1, Network Theory, 736 pp.

  • R Development Core Team, 2006b: The R Reference Manual—Base Package. Vol. 2, Network Theory, 704 pp.

  • Richman, M. B., and Lamb P. J. , 1985: Climatic pattern analysis of 3-day and 7-day summer rainfall in the central United States—Some methodological considerations and a regionalization. J. Climate Appl. Meteor., 24 , 13251343.

    • Crossref
    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Saha, S., and Coauthors, 2006: The NCEP Climate Forecast System. J. Climate, 19 , 34833517.

  • Smith, S. R., Brolley J. , O’Brien J. J. , and Tartaglione C. A. , 2007: ENSO’s impact on regional US hurricane activity. J. Climate, 20 , 14041414.

    • Crossref
    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Smith, T. M., and Reynolds R. W. , 2004: Improved extended reconstruction of SST (1854–1997). J. Climate, 17 , 24662477.

    • Crossref
    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Venables, W. N., and Ripley B. D. , 2002: Modern Applied Statistics with S. 4th ed. Springer, 495 pp.

  • Vimont, D. J., and Kossin J. P. , 2007: The Atlantic meridional mode and hurricane activity. Geophys. Res. Lett., 34 , L07709. doi:10.1029/2007GL029683.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Wang, C. Z., and Enfield D. B. , 2001: The tropical Western Hemisphere warm pool. Geophys. Res. Lett., 28 , 16351638.

  • Wang, C. Z., Enfield D. B. , Lee S. K. , and Landsea C. W. , 2006: Influences of the Atlantic warm pool on Western Hemisphere summer rainfall and Atlantic hurricanes. J. Climate, 19 , 30113028.

    • Crossref
    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • WWRP/WGNE Joint Working Group on Verification, cited. 2007: Forecast verification—Issues, Methods and FAQ. [Available online at http://www.wmo.int/pages/prog/arep/wwrp/fvr.html.].

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Xie, L., Yan T. , and Pietrafesa L. , 2005a: The effect of Atlantic sea surface temperature dipole mode on hurricanes: Implications for the 2004 Atlantic hurricane season. Geophys. Res. Lett., 32 , L03701. doi:10.1029/2004GL021702.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Xie, L., Yan T. Z. , Pietrafesa L. , Morrison J. M. , and Karl T. , 2005b: Climatology and interannual variability of North Atlantic hurricane tracks. J. Climate, 18 , 53705381.

    • Crossref
    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
All Time Past Year Past 30 Days
Abstract Views 0 0 0
Full Text Views 217 43 10
PDF Downloads 94 19 2