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Improvements to the Operational Tropical Cyclone Wind Speed Probability Model

Mark DeMaria* NOAA/NESDIS, Fort Collins, Colorado

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John A. Knaff* NOAA/NESDIS, Fort Collins, Colorado

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Michael J. Brennan NOAA/NWS/NCEP/NHC, Miami, Florida

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Daniel Brown NOAA/NWS/NCEP/NHC, Miami, Florida

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Richard D. Knabb NOAA/NWS/NCEP/NHC, Miami, Florida

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Robert T. DeMaria Cooperative Institute for Research in the Atmosphere, Colorado State University, Fort Collins, Colorado

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Andrea Schumacher Cooperative Institute for Research in the Atmosphere, Colorado State University, Fort Collins, Colorado

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Christopher A. Lauer NOAA/NWS/NCEP/SWPC, Boulder, Colorado

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David P. Roberts Fleet Weather Center, Norfolk, Virginia, and NOAA/NWS/NCEP/NHC, Miami, Florida

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Charles R. Sampson** NRL, Monterey, California

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Pablo Santos NWS, Miami, Florida

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David Sharp NWS, Melbourne, Florida

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Katherine A. Winters 45th Weather Squadron, Patrick Air Force Base, Florida

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Abstract

The National Hurricane Center Hurricane Probability Program, which estimated the probability of a tropical cyclone passing within a specific distance of a selected set of coastal stations, was replaced by the more general Tropical Cyclone Surface Wind Speed Probabilities in 2006. A Monte Carlo (MC) method is used to estimate the probabilities of 34-, 50-, and 64-kt (1 kt = 0.51 m s−1) winds at multiple time periods through 120 h. Versions of the MC model are available for the Atlantic, the combined eastern and central North Pacific, and the western North Pacific. This paper presents a verification of the operational runs of the MC model for the period 2008–11 and describes model improvements since 2007. The most significant change occurred in 2010 with the inclusion of a method to take into account the uncertainty of the track forecasts on a case-by-case basis, which is estimated from the spread of a dynamical model ensemble and other parameters. The previous version represented the track uncertainty from the error distributions from the previous 5 yr of forecasts from the operational centers, with no case-to-case variability. Results show the MC model provides robust estimates of the wind speed probabilities using a number of standard verification metrics, and that the inclusion of the case-by-case measure of track uncertainty improved the probability estimates. Beginning in 2008, an older operational wind speed probability table product was modified to include information from the MC model. This development and a verification of the new version of the table are described.

Corresponding author address: Mark DeMaria, NOAA/NESDIS/STAR, CIRA/CSU, 1375 Campus Delivery, Fort Collins, CO 80523. E-mail: mark.demaria@noaa.gov

Abstract

The National Hurricane Center Hurricane Probability Program, which estimated the probability of a tropical cyclone passing within a specific distance of a selected set of coastal stations, was replaced by the more general Tropical Cyclone Surface Wind Speed Probabilities in 2006. A Monte Carlo (MC) method is used to estimate the probabilities of 34-, 50-, and 64-kt (1 kt = 0.51 m s−1) winds at multiple time periods through 120 h. Versions of the MC model are available for the Atlantic, the combined eastern and central North Pacific, and the western North Pacific. This paper presents a verification of the operational runs of the MC model for the period 2008–11 and describes model improvements since 2007. The most significant change occurred in 2010 with the inclusion of a method to take into account the uncertainty of the track forecasts on a case-by-case basis, which is estimated from the spread of a dynamical model ensemble and other parameters. The previous version represented the track uncertainty from the error distributions from the previous 5 yr of forecasts from the operational centers, with no case-to-case variability. Results show the MC model provides robust estimates of the wind speed probabilities using a number of standard verification metrics, and that the inclusion of the case-by-case measure of track uncertainty improved the probability estimates. Beginning in 2008, an older operational wind speed probability table product was modified to include information from the MC model. This development and a verification of the new version of the table are described.

Corresponding author address: Mark DeMaria, NOAA/NESDIS/STAR, CIRA/CSU, 1375 Campus Delivery, Fort Collins, CO 80523. E-mail: mark.demaria@noaa.gov
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