Development of a track-pattern-based medium-range tropical cyclone forecasting system for the western North Pacific

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  • 1 School of Earth and Environmental Sciences, Seoul National University, Seoul, Korea
  • | 2 National Institute of Meteorological Sciences, Jeju-do, Korea
  • | 3 Division of Data Science, University of Suwon, Gyeonggi-do, Korea
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Abstract

Despite tremendous advancements in dynamical models for weather forecasting, statistical models continue to offer various possibilities for tropical cyclone (TC) track forecasting. Herein, a track-pattern-based approach was developed to predict a TC track for a lead time of 6–8 days over the western North Pacific (WNP), utilizing historical tracks in conjunction with dynamical forecasts. It is composed of four main steps: (1) clustering historical tracks similar to that of an operational five-day forecast in their early phase into track patterns, and calculating the daily mean environmental fields (500-hPa geopotential height and steering flow) associated with each track; (2) deriving the two environmental variables forecasted by dynamical models; (3) evaluating pattern correlation coefficients between the two environmental fields from step (1) and those from dynamical model for a lead times of 6–8 days; and (4) producing the final track forecast based on relative frequency maps obtained from the historical tracks in step (1) and the pattern correlation coefficients obtained from step (3). TCs that formed in the WNP and lasted for at least seven days, during the 9-year period 2011–2019 were selected to verify the resulting track-pattern-based forecasts. In addition to the performance comparable to dynamical models under certain conditions, the track-pattern-based model is inexpensive, and can consistently produce forecasts over large latitudinal or longitudinal ranges. Machine learning techniques can be implemented to incorporate non-linearity in the present model for improving medium-range track forecasts.

Corresponding author: Chang-Hoi Ho (hoch@cpl.snu.ac.kr)

Abstract

Despite tremendous advancements in dynamical models for weather forecasting, statistical models continue to offer various possibilities for tropical cyclone (TC) track forecasting. Herein, a track-pattern-based approach was developed to predict a TC track for a lead time of 6–8 days over the western North Pacific (WNP), utilizing historical tracks in conjunction with dynamical forecasts. It is composed of four main steps: (1) clustering historical tracks similar to that of an operational five-day forecast in their early phase into track patterns, and calculating the daily mean environmental fields (500-hPa geopotential height and steering flow) associated with each track; (2) deriving the two environmental variables forecasted by dynamical models; (3) evaluating pattern correlation coefficients between the two environmental fields from step (1) and those from dynamical model for a lead times of 6–8 days; and (4) producing the final track forecast based on relative frequency maps obtained from the historical tracks in step (1) and the pattern correlation coefficients obtained from step (3). TCs that formed in the WNP and lasted for at least seven days, during the 9-year period 2011–2019 were selected to verify the resulting track-pattern-based forecasts. In addition to the performance comparable to dynamical models under certain conditions, the track-pattern-based model is inexpensive, and can consistently produce forecasts over large latitudinal or longitudinal ranges. Machine learning techniques can be implemented to incorporate non-linearity in the present model for improving medium-range track forecasts.

Corresponding author: Chang-Hoi Ho (hoch@cpl.snu.ac.kr)
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