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Munehiko Yamaguchi and Naohisa Koide

Abstract

TC genesis guidance using the early stage Dvorak analysis technique (EDA) and global ensembles is investigated as one of the statistical–dynamical TC genesis guidance schemes. The EDA is a scheme that enables the analysis of tropical disturbances at earlier stages by adding T numbers of 0.0 and 0.5 to the conventional Dvorak technique. This unique analysis method has been in operation at JMA since 2001. The global ensembles used in this study are the ECMWF, JMA, NCEP, and UKMO ensembles covering from 2010 to 2013. First, probabilities that tropical disturbances analyzed with the EDA reach tropical storm intensity within a certain lead time up to 5 days are statistically investigated. For example, the probabilities that a tropical disturbance analyzed with T numbers of 0.0, 0.5, and 1.0 reaches tropical storm intensity within 2 days are 15%, 23%, and 57%, respectively. While the false alarm ratio (FAR) is found to decrease if the global ensembles simulate the tropical disturbance analyzed with the EDA in the models, it tends to decrease with the increasing number of such ensemble members. Also, it should be noted that the probability of detection (POD) decreases with the increasing number of such ensemble members. One of the potential uses of these verification results is that forecasters could issue TC genesis forecasts by counting ensemble members that successfully simulate a targeted tropical disturbance and then refer to the FAR and POD corresponding to the number of the ensemble members. These would provide some confidence information of the forecasts.

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Munehiko Yamaguchi and Sharanya J. Majumdar

Abstract

Ensemble initial perturbations around Typhoon Sinlaku (2008) produced by ECMWF, NCEP, and the Japan Meteorological Agency (JMA) ensembles are compared using The Observing System Research and Predictability Experiment (THORPEX) Interactive Grand Global Ensemble (TIGGE) data, and the dynamical mechanisms of perturbation growth associated with the tropical cyclone (TC) motion are investigated for the ECMWF and NCEP ensembles. In the comparison, it is found that the vertical and horizontal distributions of initial perturbations as well as the amplitude are quite different among the three NWP centers before, during, and after the recurvature of Sinlaku. In addition, it turns out that those variations cause a difference in the TC motion not only at the initial time but also during the subsequent forecast period. The ECMWF ensemble exhibits relatively large perturbation growth, which results from 1) the baroclinic energy conversion in a vortex, 2) the baroclinic energy conversion associated with the midlatitude waves, and 3) the barotropic energy conversion in a vortex. Those features are less distinctive in the NCEP ensemble. A statistical verification shows that the ensemble spread of TC track predictions in NCEP (ECMWF) is larger than ECMWF (NCEP) for 1- (3-) day forecasts on average. It can be inferred that while the ECMWF ensemble starts from a relatively small amplitude of initial perturbations, the growth of the perturbations helps to amplify the ensemble spread of tracks. On the other hand, a relatively large amplitude of initial perturbations seems to play a role in producing the ensemble spread of tracks in the NCEP ensemble.

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Munehiko Yamaguchi, Junichi Ishida, Hitoshi Sato, and Masayuki Nakagawa

Abstract

Tropical cyclone (TC) track forecasts of operational numerical weather prediction (NWP) models have been compared and verified by the Japan Meteorological Agency (JMA) under an intercomparison project of the Working Group on Numerical Experimentation (WGNE) since 1991. This intercomparison has promoted validation of the global models in the tropics and subtropics. The results have demonstrated a steady increase in the global models’ ability to predict TC positions over the past quarter century.

The intercomparison study started from verification for TCs in the western North Pacific basin with three global models. Up to the present date, the verification has been extended to all ocean basins where TCs regularly occur, and 12 global models participated in the project. In recent years, the project has been extended to include verification of intensity forecasts and forecasts by regional models.

This intercomparison project has seen a significant improvement in TC track forecasts, both globally and in each TC basin. In the western North Pacific, for example, we have succeeded in obtaining an approximately 2.5-day lead-time improvement. The project has also demonstrated the benefits of multicenter track forecasts (i.e., consensus forecasts). Finally, the paper considers future challenges to TC track forecasting by NWP models that have been identified at the World Meteorological Organization’s (WMO’s) Eighth International Workshop on Tropical Cyclones (IWTC-8). We discuss the priorities and key issues in further improving the accuracy of TC track forecasts, reducing cases of large position errors, and enhancing the use of ensemble information.

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Munehiko Yamaguchi, Takeshi Iriguchi, Tetsuo Nakazawa, and Chun-Chieh Wu

Abstract

An Observing System Experiment (OSE) has been performed to investigate the effectiveness of dropwindsonde observations and a sensitivity analysis technique on a typhoon track forecast. Using dropwindsonde observations for Typhoon Conson at 1200 UTC 8 June 2004, which are derived from Dropwindsonde Observation for Typhoon Surveillance near the Taiwan Region (DOTSTAR), four numerical experiments are conducted, which are different only in terms of the number of dropwindsonde observations used in a data assimilation system: (i) no observation is assimilated; (ii) all observations are assimilated; (iii) observations within a sensitive region as revealed by a singular vector method at the Japan Meteorological Agency (JMA) are assimilated; and (iv) observations outside the sensitive region are assimilated. In the comparison of the four track forecasts, Conson’s northeastward movement is expressed in the second and third simulations while in the first and fourth experiments Conson stays at almost the same position as its initial position. Through the OSE, it is found that DOTSTAR observations had a positive impact on the track forecast for Conson, and that observations within the sensitive region are enough to predict the northeastward movement of Conson, indicating that the JMA singular vector method would be useful for the sampling strategy of targeted observations like DOTSTAR.

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Munehiko Yamaguchi, Ryota Sakai, Masayuki Kyoda, Takuya Komori, and Takashi Kadowaki

Abstract

The Japan Meteorological Agency (JMA) Typhoon Ensemble Prediction System (TEPS) and its performance are described. In February 2008, JMA started an operation of TEPS that was designed for providing skillful tropical cyclone (TC) track predictions in both deterministic and probabilistic ways. TEPS consists of 1 nonperturbed prediction and 10 perturbed predictions based on the lower-resolution version (TL319L60) of the JMA Global Spectral Model (GSM; TL959L60) and a global analysis for JMA/GSM. A singular vector method is employed to create initial perturbations. Focusing on TCs in the western North Pacific Ocean and the South China Sea (0°–60°N, 100°E–180°), TEPS runs 4 times a day, initiated at 0000, 0600, 1200, and 1800 UTC with a prediction range of 132 h. The verifications of TEPS during the quasi-operational period from May to December 2007 indicate that the ensemble mean track predictions statistically have better performance as compared with the control (nonperturbed) predictions: the error reduction in the 5-day predictions is 40 km on average. Moreover, it is found that the ensemble spread of tracks is an indicator of position error, indicating that TEPS will be useful in presenting confidence information on TC track predictions. For 2008 when TEPS was in operational use, however, it was also found that the ensemble mean was significantly worse than the deterministic model (JMA/GSM) out to 84 h.

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Munehiko Yamaguchi, David S. Nolan, Mohamed Iskandarani, Sharanya J. Majumdar, Melinda S. Peng, and Carolyn A. Reynolds

Abstract

In this study, singular vectors (SVs) are calculated for tropical cyclone (TC)–like vortices on an f plane and β plane using a barotropic model, and the structure and time evolution of the SVs are investigated. In the f-plane study, SVs are calculated for TC-like vortices that do and do not satisfy a necessary condition of barotropic instability of normal modes, in which the vorticity gradient changes sign. It is found that, in the case where the initial vortices do not meet the condition, 1) the SVs are tilted against the shear of the background angular velocity as found earlier by Nolan and Farrell, indicating the growth of SVs through the Orr mechanism; 2) the leading singular value increases with the maximum tangential wind speed V max and decreases with the radius of the maximum wind (RMW); and 3) the locations of SVs move outward with increasing RMW, V max, and the optimization time. In the case where the initial vortex allows for barotropic instability, the SV is initially tilted against the background shear and exhibits transient growth for a limited period. At a certain time during the initial growth, the SV “locks in” to a normal mode structure and remains in that structure so that it may grow exponentially with time.

In contrast to the SVs on an f plane, the azimuthal distribution of the SVs on a β plane becomes more asymmetric, and the extent of the asymmetry increases as the strength of the beta gyres increases. On the β plane, all first and second SVs calculated in this study have an azimuthal wavenumber-1 structure at the optimization time, regardless of whether the vorticity gradient of initial TC-like vortices changes sign and the TC-like vortices include the beta gyres at initial time. It is found that when the first and second SVs are used as ensemble initial perturbations, the linear combination of the initial first and second SVs can shift the vortex toward any direction at the optimization time. This is true even when SVs with a low horizontal resolution are used as initial perturbations, as in the European Centre for Medium-Range Weather Forecasts (ECMWF) and Japan Meteorological Agency (JMA) ensemble prediction system. Such wavenumber-1 perturbations could be useful for generating sufficient spread among the tropical cyclone tracks in ensemble forecasts.

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Linus Magnusson, Jean-Raymond Bidlot, Simon T. K. Lang, Alan Thorpe, Nils Wedi, and Munehiko Yamaguchi

Abstract

On 30 October 2012 Hurricane Sandy made landfall on the U.S. East Coast with a devastating impact. Here the performance of the ECMWF forecasts (both high resolution and ensemble) are evaluated together with ensemble forecasts from other numerical weather prediction centers, available from The Observing System Research and Predictability Experiment (THORPEX) Interactive Grand Global Ensemble (TIGGE) archive. The sensitivity to sea surface temperature (SST) and model resolution for the ECMWF forecasts are explored. The results show that the ECMWF forecasts provided a clear indication of the landfall from 7 days in advance. Comparing ensemble forecasts from different centers, the authors find the ensemble forecasts from ECMWF to be the most consistent in the forecast of the landfall of Sandy on the New Jersey coastline. The impact of the warm SST anomaly off the U.S. East Coast is investigated by running sensitivity experiments with climatological SST instead of persisting the SST anomaly from the analysis. The results show that the SST anomaly had a small effect on Sandy’s track in the forecast, but the forecasts initialized with the warm SST anomaly feature a more intense system in terms of the depth of the cyclone, wind speeds, and precipitation. Furthermore, the role of spatial resolution is investigated by comparing four global simulations, spanning from TL159 (150 km) to TL3999 (5 km) horizontal resolution. Forecasts from 3 and 5 days before the landfall are evaluated. While all resolutions predict Sandy’s landfall, at very high resolution the tropical cyclone intensity and the oceanic wave forecasts are greatly improved.

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Munehiko Yamaguchi, Frédéric Vitart, Simon T. K. Lang, Linus Magnusson, Russell L. Elsberry, Grant Elliott, Masayuki Kyouda, and Tetsuo Nakazawa

Abstract

Operational global medium-range ensemble forecasts of tropical cyclone (TC) activity (genesis plus the subsequent track) are systematically evaluated to understand the skill of the state-of-the-art ensembles in forecasting TC activity as well as the relative benefits of a multicenter grand ensemble with respect to a single-model ensemble. The global ECMWF, JMA, NCEP, and UKMO ensembles are evaluated from 2010 to 2013 in seven TC basins around the world. The verification metric is the Brier skill score (BSS), which is calculated within a 3-day time window over a forecast length of 2 weeks to examine the skill from short- to medium-range time scales (0–14 days). These operational global medium-range ensembles are capable of providing guidance on TC activity forecasts that extends into week 2. Multicenter grand ensembles (MCGEs) tend to have better forecast skill (larger BSSs) than does the best single-model ensemble, which is the ECMWF ensemble in most verification time windows and most TC basins. The relative benefit of the MCGEs is relatively large in the north Indian Ocean and TC basins in the Southern Hemisphere where the BSS of the single-model ensemble is relatively small. The BSS metric and the reliability are found to be sensitive to the choice of threshold wind values that are used to define the model TCs.

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Udai Shimada, Hiromi Owada, Munehiko Yamaguchi, Takeshi Iriguchi, Masahiro Sawada, Kazumasa Aonashi, Mark DeMaria, and Kate D. Musgrave

Abstract

The Statistical Hurricane Intensity Prediction Scheme (SHIPS) is a multiple regression model for forecasting tropical cyclone (TC) intensity [both central pressure (Pmin) and maximum wind speed (Vmax)]. To further improve the accuracy of the Japan Meteorological Agency version of SHIPS, five new predictors associated with TC rainfall and structural features were incorporated into the scheme. Four of the five predictors were primarily derived from the hourly Global Satellite Mapping of Precipitation (GSMaP) reanalysis product, which is a microwave satellite-derived rainfall dataset. The predictors include the axisymmetry of rainfall distribution around a TC multiplied by ocean heat content (OHC), rainfall areal coverage, the radius of maximum azimuthal mean rainfall, and total volumetric rain multiplied by OHC. The fifth predictor is the Rossby number. Among these predictors, the axisymmetry multiplied by OHC had the greatest impact on intensity change, particularly, at forecast times up to 42 h. The forecast results up to 5 days showed that the mean absolute error (MAE) of the Pmin forecast in SHIPS with the new predictors was improved by over 6% in the first half of the forecast period. The MAE of the Vmax forecast was also improved by nearly 4%. Regarding the Pmin forecast, the improvement was greatest (up to 13%) for steady-state TCs, including those initialized as tropical depressions, with slight improvement (2%–5%) for intensifying TCs. Finally, a real-time forecast experiment utilizing the hourly near-real-time GSMaP product demonstrated the improvement of the SHIPS forecasts, confirming feasibility for operational use.

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Chun-Chieh Wu, Jan-Huey Chen, Sharanya J. Majumdar, Melinda S. Peng, Carolyn A. Reynolds, Sim D. Aberson, Roberto Buizza, Munehiko Yamaguchi, Shin-Gan Chen, Tetsuo Nakazawa, and Kun-Hsuan Chou

Abstract

This study compares six different guidance products for targeted observations over the northwest Pacific Ocean for 84 cases of 2-day forecasts in 2006 and highlights the unique dynamical features affecting the tropical cyclone (TC) tracks in this basin. The six products include three types of guidance based on total-energy singular vectors (TESVs) from different global models, the ensemble transform Kalman filter (ETKF) based on a multimodel ensemble, the deep-layer mean (DLM) wind variance, and the adjoint-derived sensitivity steering vector (ADSSV). The similarities among the six products are evaluated using two objective statistical techniques to show the diversity of the sensitivity regions in large, synoptic-scale domains and in smaller domains local to the TC. It is shown that the three TESVs are relatively similar to one another in both the large and the small domains while the comparisons of the DLM wind variance with other methods show rather low similarities. The ETKF and the ADSSV usually show high similarity because their optimal sensitivity usually lies close to the TC. The ADSSV, relative to the ETKF, reveals more similar sensitivity patterns to those associated with TESVs. Three special cases are also selected to highlight the similarities and differences among the six guidance products and to interpret the dynamical systems affecting the TC motion in the northwestern Pacific. Among the three storms studied, Typhoon Chanchu was associated with the subtropical high, Typhoon Shanshan was associated with the midlatitude trough, and Typhoon Durian was associated with the subtropical jet. The adjoint methods are found to be more capable of capturing the signal of the dynamic system that may affect the TC movement or evolution than are the ensemble methods.

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