MTrack: Improved Center Fix of Tropical Cyclones from SMAP Wind Observations

View More View Less
  • 1 University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI, drmayers@umich.edu
  • 2 University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI, cruf@umich.edu
© Get Permissions
Full access

Abstract

MTrack is an automated algorithm which determines the center location (latitude and longitude) of a tropical cyclone from a scalar wind field derived from satellite observations. Accurate storm centers are useful for operational forecasting of tropical cyclones and for their reanalysis (e.g. research on storm surge modeling). Currently, storm center fixes have significantly larger errors for weak, disorganized storms. The MTrack algorithm presented here improves storm centers in some of those cases. It is also automated and, therefore, less subjective than manual fixes made by forecasters. The MTrack algorithm, which was originally designed to work with CYGNSS wind speed measurements, is applied to SMAP winds for the first time. The average difference between MTrack and Best Track storm center locations is 21, 36 and 46 km for major hurricanes, category 1-2 hurricanes, and tropical storms, respectively. MTrack is shown to operate successfully when a storm is only partially sampled by the observing satellite and when the eye of the storm is not resolved.

Corresponding Author: David Mayers, drmayers@umich.edu

Abstract

MTrack is an automated algorithm which determines the center location (latitude and longitude) of a tropical cyclone from a scalar wind field derived from satellite observations. Accurate storm centers are useful for operational forecasting of tropical cyclones and for their reanalysis (e.g. research on storm surge modeling). Currently, storm center fixes have significantly larger errors for weak, disorganized storms. The MTrack algorithm presented here improves storm centers in some of those cases. It is also automated and, therefore, less subjective than manual fixes made by forecasters. The MTrack algorithm, which was originally designed to work with CYGNSS wind speed measurements, is applied to SMAP winds for the first time. The average difference between MTrack and Best Track storm center locations is 21, 36 and 46 km for major hurricanes, category 1-2 hurricanes, and tropical storms, respectively. MTrack is shown to operate successfully when a storm is only partially sampled by the observing satellite and when the eye of the storm is not resolved.

Corresponding Author: David Mayers, drmayers@umich.edu
Save