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Ruixin Yang, Jiang Tang, and Donglian Sun

Abstract

This study applies a data mining technique called association rule mining to the analysis of intensity changes of North Atlantic tropical cyclones (TCs). The “best track” data from the National Hurricane Center and the Statistical Hurricane Intensity Prediction Scheme databases were stratified into tropical depressions, tropical storms, and category 1–5 hurricanes based on the Saffir–Simpson hurricane scale. After stratification, the seven resulting groups of TCs plus two additional aggregation groups were further separated into intensifying, weakening, and stable TCs. The analysis of the stratified data for preprocessing revealed that faster northward storm motion (the meridional component of storm motion) favors tropical storm intensification but does not favor the intensification of hurricanes. Intensifying tropical storms are more strongly associated with a higher convergence in the upper atmosphere (200-hPa relative eddy momentum flux convergence) than weakening tropical storms, while intensifying hurricanes are more strongly associated with lower convergence values. The mined association rules showed that cofactors usually display higher-intensity prediction power in the stratified TC groups. The data mining results also identified a predictor set with fewer factors but improved probabilities of rapid intensification. This study found that the data mining technique not only sheds light on the roles of multiple-associated physical processes in tropical cyclone development—especially in rapid intensification processes—but also will help improve TC intensity forecasting. This paper provides an outline on how to use this data mining technique and how to overcome low occurrences of mined conditions in order to improve TC intensity forecasting capabilities.

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Donglian Sun, Rachel T. Pinker, and Jeffery B. Basara

Abstract

The next generation of Geostationary Operational Environmental Satellites (GOES M–Q) will have only one thermal window channel instead of the current two split-window thermal channels. There is a need to evaluate the usefulness of this new configuration to retrieve parameters that presently are derived by utilizing the split-window characteristics. Two algorithms for deriving land surface temperatures (LSTs) from the GOES M–Q series have been developed and will be presented here. Both algorithms are based on radiative transfer theory; one uses ancillary total precipitable water (TPW) data, and the other is a two-channel (3.9 and 11.0 μm) algorithm that aims to improve atmospheric correction by utilizing the middle infrared (MIR) channel. The proposed algorithms are compared with a well-known generalized split-window algorithm. It is found that by adding TPW to the 11.0-μm channel, similar results to those from the generalized split-window algorithm are attained, and the combination of 3.9 and 11.0 μm yields further improvement. GOES M–Q retrievals (simulated with GOES-8 observations), when evaluated against skin temperature observations from the Oklahoma Mesonet, show that with the proposed two-channel algorithm, LST can be determined at an rms accuracy of about 2 K. The proposed algorithms are also applicable for the derivation of sea surface temperatures (SSTs) for which less restrictive assumptions on surface emissivity apply.

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Donglian Sun, Yunyue Yu, Li Fang, and Yuling Liu

Abstract

For most land surface temperature (LST) regression algorithms, a set of optimized coefficients is determined by manual separation of the different subdivisions of atmospheric and surface conditions. In this study, a machine-learning technique, the regression tree (RT) technique, is introduced with the aim of automatically finding these subranges and the thresholds for the stratification of regression coefficients. The use of RT techniques in LST retrieval has the potential to contribute to the determination of optimal regression relationships under different conditions. Because of the lack of split-window channels for the Geostationary Operational Environmental Satellite (GOES) M–Q series (GOES-12GOES-15, plus GOES-Q), a dual-window LST algorithm was developed by combining the infrared 11-μm channel with the shortwave-infrared (SWIR) 3.9-μm channel, which presents lower atmospheric absorption than does the infrared split-window channels (11 and 12 μm). The RT technique was introduced to derive the regression models under different conditions. The algorithms were used to derive the LST product from GOES observations and were evaluated against the 2004 Surface Radiation budget network. The results indicate that the RT technique outperforms the traditional regression method.

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Rachel T. Pinker, Donglian Sun, Meng-Pai Hung, Chuan Li, and Jeffrey B. Basara

Abstract

A comprehensive evaluation of split-window and triple-window algorithms to estimate land surface temperature (LST) from Geostationary Operational Environmental Satellites (GOES) that were previously described by Sun and Pinker is presented. The evaluation of the split-window algorithm is done against ground observations and against independently developed algorithms. The triple-window algorithm is evaluated only for nighttime against ground observations and against the Sun and Pinker split-window (SP-SW) algorithm. The ground observations used are from the Atmospheric Radiation Measurement Program (ARM) Central Facility, Southern Great Plains site (April 1997–March 1998); from five Surface Radiation Budget Network (SURFRAD) stations (1996–2000); and from the Oklahoma Mesonet. The independent algorithms used for comparison include the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration/National Environmental Satellite, Data and Information Service operational method and the following split-window algorithms: that of , that of , two versions of that of , that of , two versions of that of , that of and others, the generalized split-window algorithm as described by Becker and Li and by Wan and Dozier, and the Becker and Li algorithm with water vapor correction. The evaluation against the ARM and SURFRAD observations indicates that the LST retrievals from the SP-SW algorithm are in closer agreement with the ground observations than are the other algorithms tested. When evaluated against observations from the Oklahoma Mesonet, the triple-window algorithm is found to perform better than the split-window algorithm during nighttime.

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Donglian Sun, W. K. M. Lau, Menas Kafatos, Zafer Boybeyi, Gregory Leptoukh, Chaiwei Yang, and Ruixin Yang

Abstract

In this study, the role of the Saharan air layer (SAL) is investigated in the development and intensification of tropical cyclones (TCs) via modifying environmental stability and moisture, using multisensor satellite data, long-term TC track and intensity records, dust data, and numerical simulations with a state-of-the-art Weather Research and Forecasting model (WRF). The long-term relationship between dust and Atlantic TC activity shows that dust aerosols are negatively associated with hurricane activity in the Atlantic basin, especially with the major hurricanes in the western Atlantic region. Numerical simulations with the WRF for specific cases during the NASA African Monsoon Multidisciplinary Analyses (NAMMA) experiment show that, when vertical temperature and humidity profiles from the Atmospheric Infrared Sounder (AIRS) were assimilated into the model, detailed features of the warm and dry SAL, including the entrainment of dry air wrapping around the developing vortex, are well simulated. Active tropical disturbances are found along the southern edge of the SAL. The simulations show an example where the dry and warm air of the SAL intruded into the core of a developing cyclone, suppressing convection and causing a spin down of the vortical circulation. The cyclone eventually weakened.

To separate the contributions from the warm temperature and dry air associated with the SAL, two additional simulations were performed, one assimilating only AIRS temperature information (AIRST) and one assimilating only AIRS humidity information (AIRSH) while keeping all other conditions the same. The AIRST experiments show almost the same simulations as the full AIRS assimilation experiments, whereas the AIRSH is close to the non-AIRS simulation. This is likely due to the thermal structure of the SAL leading to low-level temperature inversion and increased stability and vertical wind shear. These analyses suggest that dry air entrainment and the enhanced vertical wind shear may play the direct roles in leading to the TC suppression. On the other hand, the warm SAL temperature may play the indirect effects by enhancing vertical wind shear; increasing evaporative cooling; and initiating mesoscale downdrafts, which bring dry air from the upper troposphere to the lower levels.

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