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Reducing Operational Hurricane Intensity Forecast Errors during Eyewall Replacement Cycles

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  • 1 NOAA/National Centers for Environmental Information/Center for Weather and Climate, Asheville, North Carolina
  • | 2 NOAA/National Hurricane Center, Miami, Florida
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Abstract

Eyewall replacement cycles (ERCs) are fairly common events in tropical cyclones (TCs) of hurricane intensity or greater and typically cause large and sometimes rapid changes in the intensity evolution of the TC. Although the details of the intensity evolution associated with ERCs appear to have some dependence on the ambient environmental conditions that the TCs move through, these dependencies can also be quite different than those of TCs that are not undergoing an ERC. For example, the Statistical Hurricane Prediction Scheme (SHIPS), which is used in National Hurricane Center operations and provides intensity forecast skill that is, on average, equal to or greater than deterministic numerical model skill, typically identifies an environment that is not indicative of weakening during the onset and subsequent evolution of an ERC. Contrarily, a period of substantial weakening does typically begin near the onset of an ERC, and this disparity can cause large SHIPS intensity forecast errors. Here, a simple model based on a climatology of ERC intensity change is introduced and tested against SHIPS. It is found that the application of the model can reduce intensity forecast error substantially when applied at, or shortly after, the onset of ERC weakening.

Corresponding author address: James Kossin, NOAA/Cooperative Institute for Meteorological Satellite Studies, 1225 W. Dayton St., Madison, WI 53706. E-mail: james.kossin@noaa.gov

Abstract

Eyewall replacement cycles (ERCs) are fairly common events in tropical cyclones (TCs) of hurricane intensity or greater and typically cause large and sometimes rapid changes in the intensity evolution of the TC. Although the details of the intensity evolution associated with ERCs appear to have some dependence on the ambient environmental conditions that the TCs move through, these dependencies can also be quite different than those of TCs that are not undergoing an ERC. For example, the Statistical Hurricane Prediction Scheme (SHIPS), which is used in National Hurricane Center operations and provides intensity forecast skill that is, on average, equal to or greater than deterministic numerical model skill, typically identifies an environment that is not indicative of weakening during the onset and subsequent evolution of an ERC. Contrarily, a period of substantial weakening does typically begin near the onset of an ERC, and this disparity can cause large SHIPS intensity forecast errors. Here, a simple model based on a climatology of ERC intensity change is introduced and tested against SHIPS. It is found that the application of the model can reduce intensity forecast error substantially when applied at, or shortly after, the onset of ERC weakening.

Corresponding author address: James Kossin, NOAA/Cooperative Institute for Meteorological Satellite Studies, 1225 W. Dayton St., Madison, WI 53706. E-mail: james.kossin@noaa.gov
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