Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Virtual Hurricanes: Computer Model Pushes The Frontier

Date:
August 3, 2001
Source:
National Science Foundation
Summary:
In a key step toward improving hurricane prediction, scientists at the National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR) in Boulder, Colo., have reproduced in a computer model the fine- scale structure that drives the birth and strengthening of tropical cyclones.

In a key step toward improving hurricane prediction, scientists at the National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR) in Boulder, Colo., have reproduced in a computer model the fine- scale structure that drives the birth and strengthening of tropical cyclones. NCAR's primary sponsor is the National Science Foundation (NSF), which also funded the research. NCAR scientists Jordan Powers and Christopher Davis are presenting imagery from their hurricane simulation this week in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, at the Ninth Conference on Mesoscale Processes, sponsored by the American Meteorological Society.

The simulation, which used the NCAR/Penn State (University) Mesoscale Model, Version 5 (MM5), marks the first time a cloud-resolving simulation has been able to reproduce the formation of a tropical cyclone, given only information about atmospheric conditions on a scale much larger than that of the cyclone. The breakthrough points toward future forecasting power that will soon be available. NCAR is part of a team now building a model similar to the MM5, but with more advanced capabilities, that will generate daily weather forecasts for the National Weather Service (NWS) beginning in 2004.

"Improved skill in forecasting in a research setting often does not quickly find its way into operational forecast models," says Cliff Jacobs, program director in NSF's division of atmospheric sciences. "This research has the best of all possible results: improved forecasting techniques that developed as a result of an investment in research, that likely will quickly make their way into operational models."

For their MM5 experiment, Davis and Powers studied Hurricane Diana, which struck North Carolina in 1984. Diana was chosen because of ample surface data and because a well-defined nontropical low preceded its formation. The MM5 successfully reproduced several stages in Diana's development, from its original state as a nontropical low to its intensification to hurricane status more than a day later.

According to Davis, "One of the remaining mysteries about hurricanes is how they form, especially when they're influenced by midlatitude weather systems that move into the subtropics and tropics. We hope that by analyzing the mechanisms behind storm formation in these simulations, we can make hypotheses of tropical cyclone formation that can be tested using aircraft, radar, and satellite data. We also hope to understand what's needed to predict storm formation in operational weather forecast models."

Computer models used for day-to-day weather prediction have become increasingly adept at projecting a hurricane's motion. Yet even the best models have little skill in predicting intensity, especially the rapid strengthening often noted in the most powerful hurricanes. Part of the problem is that the compact core of a hurricane, including the spiral bands of showers and thunderstorms that gather and focus energy, can’t be modeled in sufficient detail on the computers and models used for everyday forecasting.

The new Weather Research and Forecasting Model and more powerful computers will allow for the type of fine-scale detail in the MM5 to be simulated for daily forecasting. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, the University of Oklahoma, and the U.S. Air Force are collaborating with NCAR on the project.

"Diana" images available at: ftp://ftp.ucar.edu/communications


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by National Science Foundation. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

National Science Foundation. "Virtual Hurricanes: Computer Model Pushes The Frontier." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 3 August 2001. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2001/08/010803083644.htm>.
National Science Foundation. (2001, August 3). Virtual Hurricanes: Computer Model Pushes The Frontier. ScienceDaily. Retrieved September 1, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2001/08/010803083644.htm
National Science Foundation. "Virtual Hurricanes: Computer Model Pushes The Frontier." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2001/08/010803083644.htm (accessed September 1, 2014).

Share This




More Earth & Climate News

Monday, September 1, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Lightning Hurts 3 on NYC Beach

Lightning Hurts 3 on NYC Beach

AP (Sep. 1, 2014) A lightning strike injured three people on a New York City beach on Sunday. The storms also delayed flights and interrupted play at the US Open tennis tournament. (Sept. 1) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Thailand Totters Towards Waste Crisis

Thailand Totters Towards Waste Crisis

AFP (Sep. 1, 2014) Fears are mounting in Bangkok that poor planning and lax law enforcement are tipping Thailand towards a waste crisis. Duration: 01:21 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Washington Wildlife Center Goes Nuts Over Baby Squirrels

Washington Wildlife Center Goes Nuts Over Baby Squirrels

Reuters - US Online Video (Aug. 30, 2014) An animal rescue in Washington state receives an influx of orphaned squirrels, keeping workers busy as they nurse them back to health. Rough Cut (no reporter narration). Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Raw: Volcano Erupts on Papua New Guinea

Raw: Volcano Erupts on Papua New Guinea

AP (Aug. 29, 2014) Several communities were evacuated and some international flights were diverted on Friday after one of the most active volcanos in the region erupts. (Aug. 29) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins