On the Potential Use of Satellite Sounder Data in Forecasting Tropical Cyclone Motion

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  • 1 Department of Atmospheric Sciences, University of Illinois, Urbana, IL 61801
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Abstract

Although many prediction schemes are available, tropical cyclone track forecast errors are still unacceptably large. A primary difficulty is that tropical cyclones and their environments are poorly observed by conventional data networks. Satellite sounders, however, routinely provide numerous observations near these storms. Mean layer temperatures from the Scanning Microwave Spectrometer (SCAMS) on board the Nimbus-6 satellite are decomposed using empirical orthogonal functions, and the expansion coefficients are related to deviations from persistence track forecasts. Based on multiple correlation coefficients it appears that upper-level (250–100 mb) temperatures contain significant information about the right-angle error of the persistence forecast location. Temperatures from the 1000–500 mb layer seemed to contain little forecast information. Implications of these results for further work are offered.

Abstract

Although many prediction schemes are available, tropical cyclone track forecast errors are still unacceptably large. A primary difficulty is that tropical cyclones and their environments are poorly observed by conventional data networks. Satellite sounders, however, routinely provide numerous observations near these storms. Mean layer temperatures from the Scanning Microwave Spectrometer (SCAMS) on board the Nimbus-6 satellite are decomposed using empirical orthogonal functions, and the expansion coefficients are related to deviations from persistence track forecasts. Based on multiple correlation coefficients it appears that upper-level (250–100 mb) temperatures contain significant information about the right-angle error of the persistence forecast location. Temperatures from the 1000–500 mb layer seemed to contain little forecast information. Implications of these results for further work are offered.

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