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Sim D. Aberson and Charles R. Sampson

Abstract

A new Northwest Pacific climatology and persistence (CLIPER) model is derived with historical tropical cyclone tracks during the satellite and aircraft reconnaissance era (1970–95). The new CLIPER extends the forecasts from 3 to 5 days and exhibits smaller forecast biases than the previous CLIPER, although forecast errors are comparable. The new model is based on more accurate historical tropical cyclone track data, and a simpler derivation of the regression equations, than is the old model. Nonlinear systems analysis shows that the predictability timescale in which the average errors increase by a factor e is just over 15 h, which is about the same as that calculated by similar methods near Australia and in the North Atlantic. This suggests that 5-day tropical cyclone track forecasts may be beneficial, assuming small initial errors; therefore, a CLIPER model extended to 5 days is needed as a baseline to measure the forecast skill.

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John A. Knaff, Christopher J. Slocum, Kate D. Musgrave, Charles R. Sampson, and Brian R. Strahl

Abstract

A relatively simple method to estimate tropical cyclone (TC) wind radii from routinely available information including storm data (location, motion, and intensity) and TC size is introduced. The method is based on a combination of techniques presented in previous works and makes an assumption that TCs are largely symmetric and that asymmetries are based solely on storm motion and location. The method was applied to TC size estimates from two sources: infrared satellite imagery and global model analyses. The validation shows that the methodology is comparable with other objective methods based on the error statistics. The technique has a variety of practical research and operational applications, some of which are also discussed.

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Kenneth R. Knapp, John A. Knaff, Charles R. Sampson, Gustavo M. Riggio, and Adam D. Schnapp

Abstract

The western North Pacific Ocean is the most active tropical cyclone (TC) basin. However, recent studies are not conclusive on whether the TC activity is increasing or decreasing, at least when calculations are based on maximum sustained winds. For this study, TC minimum central pressure data are analyzed in an effort to better understand historical typhoons. Best-track pressure reports are compared with aircraft reconnaissance observations; little bias is observed. An analysis of wind and pressure relationships suggests changes in data and practices at numerous agencies over the historical record. New estimates of maximum sustained winds are calculated using recent wind–pressure relationships and parameters from International Best Track Archive for Climate Stewardship (IBTrACS) data. The result suggests potential reclassification of numerous typhoons based on these pressure-based lifetime maximum intensities. Historical documentation supports these new intensities in many cases. In short, wind reports in older best-track data are likely of low quality. The annual activity based on pressure estimates is found to be consistent with aircraft reconnaissance and between agencies; however, reconnaissance ended in the western Pacific in 1987. Since then, interagency differences in maximum wind estimates noted here and by others also exist in the minimum central pressure reports. Reconciling these recent interagency differences is further exasperated by the lack of adequate ground truth. This study suggests efforts to intercalibrate the interagency intensity estimate methods. Conducting an independent and homogeneous reanalysis of past typhoon activity is likely necessary to resolve the remaining discrepancies in typhoon intensity records.

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Carolyn A. Reynolds, Justin G. McLay, James S. Goerss, Efren A. Serra, Daniel Hodyss, and Charles R. Sampson

Abstract

The performance of the U.S. Navy global atmospheric ensemble prediction system is examined with a focus on tropical winds and tropical cyclone tracks. Ensembles are run at a triangular truncation of T119, T159, and T239, with 33, 17, and 9 ensemble members, respectively, to evaluate the impact of resolution versus the number of ensemble member tradeoffs on ensemble performance. Results indicate that the T159 and T239 ensemble mean tropical cyclone track errors are significantly smaller than those of the T119 ensemble out to 4 days. For ensemble forecasts of upper- and lower-tropospheric tropical winds, increasing resolution has only a small impact on ensemble mean root-mean-square error for wind speed, but does improve Brier scores for 10-m wind speed at the 5 m s−1 threshold. In addition to the resolution tests, modifications to the ensemble transform initial perturbation methodology and inclusion of stochastic kinetic energy backscatter are also evaluated. Stochastic kinetic energy backscatter substantially increases the ensemble spread and improves Brier scores in the tropics, but for the most part does not significantly reduce ensemble mean tropical cyclone track error.

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