A mesoscale primitive equation model is used to create a 36-h simulation of the three-dimensional wind field of an intense maritime extratropical cyclone. The control experiment uses the simulated wind field every 15 min in a trajectory model to calculate back trajectories from various horizontal and vertical positions of interest relative to synoptic features of the storm. The latter trajectories are compared to trajectories that were calculated with the simulated wind data degraded in time to 30 min, 1 h, 3 h, 6 h, and 12 h.
Various error statistics reveal significant deterioration in trajectory accuracy between trajectories calculated with 1- and 3-h data frequencies. Trajectories calculated with 15-min, 30-min, and 1-h data frequencies yielded similar results, while trajectories calculated with data time frequencies 3 h and greater yielded results with unacceptably large errors.