Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Hurricane prediction: Real time forecast of Hurricane Sandy had track and intensity accuracy

Date:
February 25, 2014
Source:
Penn State
Summary:
A real-time hurricane analysis and prediction system that effectively incorporates airborne Doppler radar information may accurately track the path, intensity and wind force in a hurricane, according to meteorologists. This system can also identify the sources of forecast uncertainty.

Zhang stated that the model predicted storm paths 50 mile accuracy four to five days ahead of landfall for Hurricane Sandy. "We also had accurate predictions of Sandy's intensity."
Credit: NOAA/NASA

A real-time hurricane analysis and prediction system that effectively incorporates airborne Doppler radar information may accurately track the path, intensity and wind force in a hurricane, according to Penn State meteorologists. This system can also identify the sources of forecast uncertainty.

"For this particular study aircraft-based Doppler radar information was ingested into the system," said Fuqing Zhang, professor of meteorology, Penn State. "Our predictions were comparable to or better than those made by operational global models."

Zhang and Erin B. Munsell, graduate student in meteorology, used The Pennsylvania State University real-time convection-permitting hurricane analysis and forecasting system (WRF-EnKF) to analyze Hurricane Sandy. While Sandy made landfall on the New Jersey coast on the evening of Oct. 29, 2012, the analysis and forecast system began tracking on Oct. 21 and the Doppler radar data analyzed covers Oct. 26 through 28.

The researchers compared The WRF-EnKF predictions to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's Global Forecast System (GFS) and the European Centre for Medium-Range Weather Forecasts (ECMWF). Besides the ability to effectively assimilate real-time Doppler radar information, the WRF-EnKF model also includes high-resolution cloud-permitting grids, which allow for the existence of individual clouds in the model.

"Our model predicted storm paths with 100 km -- 50 mile -- accuracy four to five days ahead of landfall for Hurricane Sandy," said Zhang. "We also had accurate predictions of Sandy's intensity."

The WRF-EnKF model also runs 60 storm predictions simultaneously as an ensemble, each with slightly differing initial conditions. The program runs on NOAA's dedicated computer, and the analysis was done on the Texas Advanced Computing Center computer because of the enormity of data collected.

To analyze the Hurricane Sandy forecast data, the researchers divided the 60 runs into groups -- good, fair and poor. This approach was able to isolate uncertainties in the model initial conditions, which are most prevalent on Oct. 26, when 10 of the predictions suggested that Sandy would not make landfall at all. By looking at this portion of the model, Zhang suggests that the errors occur because of differences in the initial steering level winds in the tropics that Sandy was embedded in, instead of a mid-latitude trough -- an area of relatively low atmospheric pressure -- ahead of Sandy's path.

"Though the mid-latitude system does not strongly influence the final position of Sandy, differences in the timing and location of its interactions with Sandy lead to considerable differences in rainfall forecasts, especially with respect to heavy precipitation over land," the researchers report in a recent issue of the Journal of Advances in Modeling Earth Systems.

By two days before landfall, the WRF-EnKF model was accurately predicting the hurricane's path with landfall in southern New Jersey, while the GFS model predicted a more northern landfall in New York and Connecticut, and the ECMWF model forecast landfall in northern New Jersey.

Hurricane Sandy is a good storm to analyze because its path was unusual among Atlantic tropical storms, which do not usually turn northwest into the mid-Atlantic or New England. While all three models did a fairly good job at predicting aspects of this hurricane, the WRF-EnKF model was very promising in predicting path, intensity and rainfall.

NOAA is currently evaluating the use of the WRF-EnKF system in storm prediction, and other researchers are using it to predict storm surge and risk analysis.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Penn State. The original article was written by A'ndrea Elyse Messer. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Erin B. Munsell, Fuqing Zhang. Prediction and uncertainty of Hurricane Sandy (2012) explored through a real-time cloud-permitting ensemble analysis and forecast system assimilating airborne Doppler radar observations. Journal of Advances in Modeling Earth Systems, 2014; DOI: 10.1002/2013MS000297

Cite This Page:

Penn State. "Hurricane prediction: Real time forecast of Hurricane Sandy had track and intensity accuracy." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 25 February 2014. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/02/140225101641.htm>.
Penn State. (2014, February 25). Hurricane prediction: Real time forecast of Hurricane Sandy had track and intensity accuracy. ScienceDaily. Retrieved July 31, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/02/140225101641.htm
Penn State. "Hurricane prediction: Real time forecast of Hurricane Sandy had track and intensity accuracy." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/02/140225101641.htm (accessed July 31, 2014).

Share This




More Earth & Climate News

Thursday, July 31, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Big Waves In Arctic Ocean Threaten Polar Ice

Big Waves In Arctic Ocean Threaten Polar Ice

Newsy (July 30, 2014) Big waves in parts of the Arctic Ocean are unprecedented, mainly because they used to be covered in ice. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Raw: Thousands Flocking to German Crop Circle

Raw: Thousands Flocking to German Crop Circle

AP (July 30, 2014) Thousands of people are trekking to a Bavarian farmer's field to check out a mysterious set of crop circles. (July 30) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Amid Drought, UCLA Sees Only Water

Amid Drought, UCLA Sees Only Water

AP (July 30, 2014) A ruptured 93-year-old water main left the UCLA campus awash in 8 million gallons of water in the middle of California's worst drought in decades. (July 30) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
In Virginia, the Rise of a New Space Coast

In Virginia, the Rise of a New Space Coast

AP (July 30, 2014) Every summer, tourists make the pilgrimage to Chincoteague Island, Va. to see wild ponies cross the Assateague Channel. But, it's the rockets sending to supplies to the International Space Station that are making this a year-round destination. (July 30) 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