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Probabilistic Evaluation of the Dynamics and Prediction of Supertyphoon Megi (2010)

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  • 1 Nanjing University of Information Science and Technology, Nanjing, and National Meteorological Center, Beijing, China, and Department of Meteorology, The Pennsylvania State University, University Park, Pennsylvania
  • 2 Department of Meteorology, The Pennsylvania State University, University Park, Pennsylvania
  • 3 National Meteorological Center, Beijing, China
  • 4 NOAA/NCEP, College Park, Maryland
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Abstract

Supertyphoon Megi was the most intense tropical cyclone (TC) of 2010. Megi tracked westward through the western North Pacific and crossed the Philippines on 18 October. Two days later, Megi made a sharp turn to the north, an unusual track change that was not forecast by any of the leading operational centers. This failed forecast was a consequence of exceptionally large uncertainty in the numerical guidance—including the operational ensemble of the European Centre for Medium-Range Weather Forecasts (ECMWF)—at various lead times before the northward turn. This study uses The Observing System Research and Predictability Experiment (THORPEX) Interactive Grand Global Ensemble dataset to examine the uncertainties in the track forecast of the ECMWF operational ensemble. The results show that Megi's sharp turn is sensitive to its own movement in the early period, the size and structure of the storm, the strength and extent of the western Pacific subtropical high, and an approaching eastward-moving midlatitude trough. In particular, a larger TC (in addition to having a stronger beta effect) may lead to a stronger erosion of the southwestern extent of the subtropical high, which will subsequently lead to an earlier and sharper northward turn.

Corresponding author address: Prof. Fuqing Zhang, Dept. of Meteorology, The Pennsylvania State University, 503 Walker Building, University Park, PA 16802-5013. E-mail: fzhang@psu.edu

Abstract

Supertyphoon Megi was the most intense tropical cyclone (TC) of 2010. Megi tracked westward through the western North Pacific and crossed the Philippines on 18 October. Two days later, Megi made a sharp turn to the north, an unusual track change that was not forecast by any of the leading operational centers. This failed forecast was a consequence of exceptionally large uncertainty in the numerical guidance—including the operational ensemble of the European Centre for Medium-Range Weather Forecasts (ECMWF)—at various lead times before the northward turn. This study uses The Observing System Research and Predictability Experiment (THORPEX) Interactive Grand Global Ensemble dataset to examine the uncertainties in the track forecast of the ECMWF operational ensemble. The results show that Megi's sharp turn is sensitive to its own movement in the early period, the size and structure of the storm, the strength and extent of the western Pacific subtropical high, and an approaching eastward-moving midlatitude trough. In particular, a larger TC (in addition to having a stronger beta effect) may lead to a stronger erosion of the southwestern extent of the subtropical high, which will subsequently lead to an earlier and sharper northward turn.

Corresponding author address: Prof. Fuqing Zhang, Dept. of Meteorology, The Pennsylvania State University, 503 Walker Building, University Park, PA 16802-5013. E-mail: fzhang@psu.edu
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