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The International Best Track Archive for Climate Stewardship (IBTrACS)

Unifying Tropical Cyclone Data

Kenneth R. Knapp
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Michael C. Kruk
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David H. Levinson
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Howard J. Diamond
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Charles J. Neumann
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The goal of the International Best Track Archive for Climate Stewardship (IBTrACS) project is to collect the historical tropical cyclone best-track data from all available Regional Specialized Meteorological Centers (RSMCs) and other agencies, combine the disparate datasets into one product, and disseminate in formats used by the tropical cyclone community. Each RSMC forecasts and monitors storms for a specific region and annually archives best-track data, which consist of information on a storm's position, intensity, and other related parameters. IBTrACS is a new dataset based on the best-track data from numerous sources. Moreover, rather than preferentially selecting one track and intensity for each storm, the mean position, the original intensities from the agencies, and summary statistics are provided. This article discusses the dataset construction, explores the tropical cyclone climatology from IBTrACS, and concludes with an analysis of uncertainty in the tropical cyclone intensity record.

NOAA/National Climatic Data Center, Asheville, North Carolina

STG Inc., Asheville, North Carolina

NOAA/National Climatic Data Center, Silver Spring, Maryland

NOAA/National Hurricane Center, Miami, Florida

*Now retired.

CORRESPONDING AUTHOR: Kenneth R. Knapp, NOAA/National Climatic Data Center, 151 Patton Ave., Asheville, NC 28801, E-mail: ken.knapp@noaa.gov

The goal of the International Best Track Archive for Climate Stewardship (IBTrACS) project is to collect the historical tropical cyclone best-track data from all available Regional Specialized Meteorological Centers (RSMCs) and other agencies, combine the disparate datasets into one product, and disseminate in formats used by the tropical cyclone community. Each RSMC forecasts and monitors storms for a specific region and annually archives best-track data, which consist of information on a storm's position, intensity, and other related parameters. IBTrACS is a new dataset based on the best-track data from numerous sources. Moreover, rather than preferentially selecting one track and intensity for each storm, the mean position, the original intensities from the agencies, and summary statistics are provided. This article discusses the dataset construction, explores the tropical cyclone climatology from IBTrACS, and concludes with an analysis of uncertainty in the tropical cyclone intensity record.

NOAA/National Climatic Data Center, Asheville, North Carolina

STG Inc., Asheville, North Carolina

NOAA/National Climatic Data Center, Silver Spring, Maryland

NOAA/National Hurricane Center, Miami, Florida

*Now retired.

CORRESPONDING AUTHOR: Kenneth R. Knapp, NOAA/National Climatic Data Center, 151 Patton Ave., Asheville, NC 28801, E-mail: ken.knapp@noaa.gov
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