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Tropical Cyclone Formation Guidance Using Pregenesis Dvorak Climatology. Part I: Operational Forecasting and Predictive Potential

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  • 1 Department of Earth, Ocean, and Atmospheric Science, The Florida State University, Tallahassee, Florida
  • | 2 NOAA/NWS/NHC, Miami, Florida
  • | 3 Department of Earth, Ocean, and Atmospheric Science, The Florida State University, Tallahassee, Florida
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Abstract

While there are a variety of modes for tropical cyclone (TC) development, there have been relatively few efforts to systematically catalog both nondeveloping and developing cases. This paper introduces an operationally derived climatology of tropical disturbances that were analyzed using the Dvorak technique at the National Hurricane Center (NHC) and the Central Pacific Hurricane Center from 2001 to 2011. Using these Dvorak intensity estimates, the likelihood of genesis is calculated as a historical baseline for TC prediction. Despite the limited period of record, the climatology of Dvorak analyses of incipient tropical systems has a spatial distribution that compares well with previous climatologies. The North Atlantic basin shows substantial regional variability in Dvorak classification frequency. In contrast, tropical disturbances in the combined eastern and central North Pacific basins (which split at 125°W into an eastern region and a central region) have a single broad frequency maximum and limited meridional extent. When applied to forecasting, several important features are discovered. Dvorak fixes are sometimes unavailable for disturbances that develop into TCs, especially at longer lead times. However, when probabilities of genesis are calculated by a Dvorak current intensity (CI) number, the likelihood stratifies well by basin and intensity. Tropical disturbances that are analyzed as being stronger (a higher Dvorak CI number) achieve genesis more often. Further, all else being equal, genesis rates are highest in the eastern Pacific, followed by the Atlantic. Out-of-sample verification of predictive skill shows comparable results to that of the NHC, with potential to inform forecasts and provide the first disturbance-centric baseline for tropical cyclogenesis potential.

Corresponding author address: Josh Cossuth, Dept. of Earth, Ocean, and Atmospheric Science, The Florida State University, 404 Love Bldg., Tallahassee, FL 32306-4520. E-mail: jhc06@my.fsu.edu

Abstract

While there are a variety of modes for tropical cyclone (TC) development, there have been relatively few efforts to systematically catalog both nondeveloping and developing cases. This paper introduces an operationally derived climatology of tropical disturbances that were analyzed using the Dvorak technique at the National Hurricane Center (NHC) and the Central Pacific Hurricane Center from 2001 to 2011. Using these Dvorak intensity estimates, the likelihood of genesis is calculated as a historical baseline for TC prediction. Despite the limited period of record, the climatology of Dvorak analyses of incipient tropical systems has a spatial distribution that compares well with previous climatologies. The North Atlantic basin shows substantial regional variability in Dvorak classification frequency. In contrast, tropical disturbances in the combined eastern and central North Pacific basins (which split at 125°W into an eastern region and a central region) have a single broad frequency maximum and limited meridional extent. When applied to forecasting, several important features are discovered. Dvorak fixes are sometimes unavailable for disturbances that develop into TCs, especially at longer lead times. However, when probabilities of genesis are calculated by a Dvorak current intensity (CI) number, the likelihood stratifies well by basin and intensity. Tropical disturbances that are analyzed as being stronger (a higher Dvorak CI number) achieve genesis more often. Further, all else being equal, genesis rates are highest in the eastern Pacific, followed by the Atlantic. Out-of-sample verification of predictive skill shows comparable results to that of the NHC, with potential to inform forecasts and provide the first disturbance-centric baseline for tropical cyclogenesis potential.

Corresponding author address: Josh Cossuth, Dept. of Earth, Ocean, and Atmospheric Science, The Florida State University, 404 Love Bldg., Tallahassee, FL 32306-4520. E-mail: jhc06@my.fsu.edu
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