Search Results

You are looking at 61 - 70 of 81 items for

  • Author or Editor: John A. Knaff x
  • Refine by Access: All Content x
Clear All Modify Search
Christopher J. Slocum
,
Muhammad Naufal Razin
,
John A. Knaff
, and
Justin P. Stow

Abstract

The synoptic environment around tropical cyclones plays a significant role in vortex evolution. To capture the environment, the operational and research communities calculate diagnostic quantities. To aid with applications and research, the Tropical Cyclone Precipitation, Infrared, Microwave, and Environmental Dataset (TC PRIMED) combines disparate data sources. A key part of TC PRIMED is the environmental context. Often, environmental diagnostics come from multiple sources. However, TC PRIMED uses the European Centre for Medium-Range Weather Forecasts fifth-generation reanalysis (ERA5) product to provide a more complete representation of the storm environment from a single source. Reanalysis products usually poorly resolve tropical cyclones and their surrounding environment. To understand the uncertainty of large-scale diagnostics, ERA5 is compared to the Statistical Hurricane Intensity Prediction Scheme developmental dataset and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Gulfstream IV-SP dropwindsondes. This analysis highlights biases in the ERA5 environmental diagnostic quantities. Thermodynamic fields show the largest biases. The boundary layer exhibits a cold temperature bias that limits the amount of convective instability; also, the upper troposphere contains temperature biases and shows a high relative humidity bias. However, the upper-troposphere large-scale kinematic fields and derived metrics are low biased. In the lower troposphere, the temperature gradient and advection calculated from the thermal wind suggest that the low-level wind field is not representative of the observed distribution. These diagnostics comparisons provide uncertainty so that users of TC PRIMED can assess the implications for specific research and operational applications.

Open access
John A. Knaff
,
Mark DeMaria
,
Charles R. Sampson
, and
James M. Gross

Abstract

Tropical cyclone track forecasting has improved recently to the point at which extending the official forecasts of both track and intensity to 5 days is being considered at the National Hurricane Center and the Joint Typhoon Warning Center. Current verification procedures at both of these operational centers utilize a suite of control models, derived from the “climatology” and “persistence” techniques, that make forecasts out to 3 days. To evaluate and verify 5-day forecasts, the current suite of control forecasts needs to be redeveloped to extend the forecasts from 72 to 120 h. This paper describes the development of 5-day tropical cyclone intensity forecast models derived from climatology and persistence for the Atlantic, the eastern North Pacific, and the western North Pacific Oceans. Results using independent input data show that these new models possess similar error and bias characteristics when compared with their predecessors in the North Atlantic and eastern North Pacific but that the west Pacific model shows a statistically significant improvement when compared with its forerunner. Errors associated with these tropical cyclone intensity forecast models are also shown to level off beyond 3 days in all of the basins studied.

Full access
John A. Knaff
,
Charles R. Sampson
,
Patrick J. Fitzpatrick
,
Yi Jin
, and
Christopher M. Hill

Abstract

In 1980 the Holland tropical cyclone (TC) wind profile model was introduced. This simple model was originally intended to estimate the wind profile based on limited surface pressure information alone. For this reason and its relative simplicity, the model has been used in many practical applications. In this paper the potential of a simplified version of the Holland B parameter, which is related to the shape of the tangential wind profile, is explored as a powerful diagnostic tool for monitoring TC structure. The implementation examined is based on the limited information (maximum wind, central pressure, radius and pressure of the outer closed isobar, radii of operationally important wind radii, etc.) that is typically available in operational models and routine analyses of TC structure. This “simplified Holland B” parameter is shown to be sensitive to TC intensity, TC size, and the rate of radial decay of the tangential winds, but relatively insensitive to the radius of maximum winds. A climatology of the simplified Holland B parameter based on historical best-track data is also developed and presented, providing the expected natural ranges of variability. The relative simplicity, predictable variability, and desirable properties of the simplified Holland B parameter make it ideal for a variety of applications. Examples of how the simplified Holland B parameter can be used for improving forecaster guidance, developing TC structure tools, diagnosing TC model output, and understanding and comparing the climatological variations of TC structure are presented.

Full access
Muhammad Naufal Razin
,
Christopher J. Slocum
,
John A. Knaff
,
Paula J. Brown
, and
Michael M. Bell

Abstract

To study tropical cyclones and generate forecast applications using satellite observations, researchers often consolidate disparate sources of raw and ancillary data. Data consolidation involves obtaining, collocating, and intercalibrating data from different sensors and derived products; calculating environmental diagnostics from a homogeneous source; and standardizing these various products for a straightforward analysis. To alleviate preprocessing issues and provide a long-term, global digital dataset of tropical cyclone satellite observations, we construct the Tropical Cyclone Precipitation, Infrared, Microwave, and Environmental Dataset (TC PRIMED). TC PRIMED contains tropical cyclone–centric 1) intercalibrated, multichannel, multisensor microwave brightness temperatures, 2) retrieved rainfall from NASA’s Goddard Profiling Algorithm (GPROF), 3) nearly coincident geostationary satellite infrared brightness temperatures and derived metrics, 4) tropical cyclone position and intensity information, 5) ECMWF fifth-generation reanalysis fields and derived environmental diagnostics, and 6) precipitation radar observations from the TRMM and GPM Core Observatory satellites. TC PRIMED consists of over 176,000 overpasses of 2,101 storms from 1998 to 2019, providing researchers with an analysis-ready dataset to promote and support research into improving our understanding of the relationship between tropical cyclone convective and precipitation structure, intensity, and environment. Here, we briefly describe data sources and processing steps to create TC PRIMED. To demonstrate TC PRIMED’s potential utility for studying important tropical cyclone processes and for application development, we present a shear-relative composite analysis of several multisensor satellite variables relative to the tropical cyclone lifetime maximum intensity. The composite analysis provides a simple example of how TC PRIMED can benefit future studies to advance our understanding of tropical cyclones and improve forecasts.

Open access
Alex Alvin Cheung
,
Christopher J. Slocum
,
John A. Knaff
, and
Muhammad Naufal Razin

Abstract

Intense tropical cyclones can form secondary eyewalls (SEs) that contract toward the storm center and eventually replace the inner eyewall, a process known as an eyewall replacement cycle (ERC). However, SE formation does not guarantee an eventual ERC, and often, SEs follow differing evolutionary pathways. This study documents SE evolution and progressions observed in numerous tropical cyclones, and results in two new datasets using passive microwave imagery: a global subjectively labeled dataset of SEs and eyes and their uncertainties from 72 storms between 2016 and 2019, and a dataset of 87 SE progressions that highlights the broad convective organization preceding and following an SE formation. The results show that two primary SE pathways exist: “No Replacement,” known as “Path 1,” and “Replacement,” known as the “Classic Path.” Most interestingly, 53% of the most certain SE formations result in an eyewall replacement. The Classic Path is associated with stronger column average meridional wind, a faster poleward component of storm motion, more intense storms, weaker vertical wind shear, greater relative humidity, a larger storm wind field, and stronger cold-air advection. This study highlights that a greater number of potential SE pathways exist than previously thought. The results of this study detail several observational features of SE evolution that raise questions about the physical processes that drive SE formations. Most important, environmental conditions and storm metrics identified here provide guidance for predictors in artificial intelligence applications for future tropical cyclone SE detection algorithms.

Open access
Charles R. Sampson
,
James S. Goerss
,
John A. Knaff
,
Brian R. Strahl
,
Edward M. Fukada
, and
Efren A. Serra

Abstract

In 2016, the Joint Typhoon Warning Center extended forecasts of gale-force and other wind radii to 5 days. That effort and a thrust to perform postseason analysis of gale-force wind radii for the “best tracks” (the quality controlled and documented tropical cyclone track and intensity estimates released after the season) have prompted requirements for new guidance to address the challenges of both. At the same time, operational tools to estimate and predict wind radii continue to evolve, now forming a quality suite of gale-force wind radii analysis and forecasting tools. This work provides an update to real-time estimates of gale-force wind radii (a mean/consensus of gale-force individual wind radii estimates) that includes objective scatterometer-derived estimates. The work also addresses operational gale-force wind radii forecasting in that it provides an update to a gale-force wind radii forecast consensus, which now includes gale-force wind radii forecast error estimates to accompany the gale-force wind radii forecasts. The gale-force wind radii forecast error estimates are computed using predictors readily available in real time (e.g., consensus spread, initial size, and forecast intensity) so that operational reliability and timeliness can be ensured. These updates were all implemented in operations at the Joint Typhoon Warning Center by January 2018, and more updates should be expected in the coming years as new and improved guidance becomes available.

Open access
James P. Kossin
,
John A. Knaff
,
Howard I. Berger
,
Derrick C. Herndon
,
Thomas A. Cram
,
Christopher S. Velden
,
Richard J. Murnane
, and
Jeffrey D. Hawkins

Abstract

New objective methods are introduced that use readily available data to estimate various aspects of the two-dimensional surface wind field structure in hurricanes. The methods correlate a variety of wind field metrics to combinations of storm intensity, storm position, storm age, and information derived from geostationary satellite infrared (IR) imagery. The first method estimates the radius of maximum wind (RMW) in special cases when a clear symmetric eye is identified in the IR imagery. The second method estimates RMW, and the additional critical wind radii of 34-, 50-, and 64-kt winds for the general case with no IR scene–type constraint. The third method estimates the entire two-dimensional surface wind field inside a storm-centered disk with a radius of 182 km. For each method, it is shown that the inclusion of infrared satellite data measurably reduces error. All of the methods can be transitioned to an operational setting or can be used as a postanalysis tool.

Full access
Mark DeMaria
,
James L. Franklin
,
Rachel Zelinsky
,
David A. Zelinsky
,
Matthew J. Onderlinde
,
John A. Knaff
,
Stephanie N. Stevenson
,
John Kaplan
,
Kate D. Musgrave
,
Galina Chirokova
, and
Charles R. Sampson

Abstract

The National Hurricane Center (NHC) uses a variety of guidance models for its operational tropical cyclone track, intensity, and wind structure forecasts, and as baselines for the evaluation of forecast skill. A set of the simpler models, collectively known as the NHC guidance suite, is maintained by NHC. The models comprising the guidance suite are briefly described and evaluated, with details provided for those that have not been documented previously. Decay-SHIFOR is a modified version of the Statistical Hurricane Intensity Forecast (SHIFOR) model that includes decay over land; this modification improves the SHIFOR forecasts through about 96 h. T-CLIPER, a climatology and persistence model that predicts track and intensity using a trajectory approach, has error characteristics similar to those of CLIPER and D-SHIFOR but can be run to any forecast length. The Trajectory and Beta model (TAB), another trajectory track model, applies a gridpoint spatial filter to smooth winds from the National Centers for Environmental Prediction (NCEP) Global Forecast System (GFS) model. TAB model errors were 10%–15% lower than those of the Beta and Advection model (BAM), the model it replaced in 2017. Optimizing TAB’s vertical weights shows that the lower troposphere’s environmental flow provides a better match to observed tropical cyclone motion than does the upper troposphere’s, and that the optimal steering layer is shallower for higher-latitude and weaker tropical cyclones. The advantages and disadvantages of the D-SHIFOR, T-CLIPER, and TAB models relative to their earlier counterparts are discussed.

Significance Statement

This paper provides a comprehensive summary and evaluation of a set of simpler forecast models used as guidance for NHC’s operational tropical cyclone forecasts, and as baselines for the evaluation of forecast skill; these include newer techniques that extend forecasts to 7 days and beyond.

Free access
Charles R. Sampson
,
Andrea B. Schumacher
,
John A. Knaff
,
Mark DeMaria
,
Edward M. Fukada
,
Chris A. Sisko
,
David P. Roberts
,
Katherine A. Winters
, and
Harold M. Wilson

Abstract

The Department of Defense uses a Tropical Cyclone Conditions of Readiness (TC-CORs) system to prepare bases and evacuate assets and personnel in advance of adverse weather associated with tropical cyclones (TCs). TC-CORs are recommended by weather facilities either on base or at central sites and generally are related to the timing and potential for destructive (50 kt; 1 kt ≈ 0.5144 m s−1) sustained winds. Recommendations are then considered by base or area commanders along with other factors for setting the TC-CORs. Ideally, the TC-CORs are set sequentially, from TC-COR IV (destructive winds within 72 h), through TC-COR III (destructive winds within 48 h) and TC-COR II (destructive winds within 24 h), and finally to TC-COR I (destructive winds within 12 h), if needed. Each TC-COR, once set, initiates a series of preparations and actions. Preparations for TC-COR IV can be as unobtrusive as obtaining emergency supplies, while preparations and actions leading up to TC-COR I are generally far more costly, intrusive, and labor-intensive activities. The purpose of this paper is to describe an objective aid that provides TC-COR guidance for meteorologists to use when making recommendations to base commanders. The TC-COR guidance is based on wind probability thresholds from an operational wind probability product run at the U.S. tropical cyclone forecast centers. An analysis on 113 independent cases from various bases shows the skill of the objective aid and how well it compares with the operational TC-CORs. A sensitivity analysis is also performed to demonstrate some of the advantages and pitfalls of raising or lowering the wind probability thresholds used by this objective aid.

Full access
Charles R. Sampson
,
Edward M. Fukada
,
John A. Knaff
,
Brian R. Strahl
,
Michael J. Brennan
, and
Timothy Marchok

Abstract

The Joint Typhoon Warning Center’s (JTWC) forecast improvement goals include reducing 34-kt (1 kt = 0.514 m s−1) wind radii forecast errors, so accurate real-time estimates and postseason analysis of the 34-kt wind radii are critical to reaching this goal. Accurate real-time 34-kt wind radii estimates are also critical for decisions regarding base preparedness and asset protection, but still represent a significant operational challenge at JTWC for several reasons. These reasons include a paucity of observations, the timeliness and availability of guidance, a lack of analysis tools, and a perceived shortage of personnel to perform the analysis; however, the number of available objective wind radii estimates is expanding, and the topic of estimating 34-kt wind radii warrants revisiting. In this work an equally weighted mean of real-time 34-kt wind radii objective estimates that provides real-time, routine operational guidance is described. This objective method is also used to retrospectively produce a 2-yr (2014–15) 34-kt wind radii objective analysis, the results of which compare favorably to the postseason National Hurricane Center data (i.e., the best tracks), and a newly created best-track dataset for the western North Pacific seasons. This equally weighted mean, when compared with the individual 34-kt wind radii estimate methods, is shown to have among the lowest mean absolute errors and smallest biases. In an ancillary finding, the western North Pacific basin average 34-kt wind radii calculated from the 2014–15 seasons are estimated to be 134 n mi (1 n mi = 1.852 km), which is larger than the estimates for storms in either the Atlantic (95 n mi) or eastern North Pacific (82 n mi) basins for the same years.

Full access