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.

Related Articles


"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 November 27, 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 November 27, 2014).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Earth & Climate News

Thursday, November 27, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Bolivian Recycling Initiative Turns Plastic Waste Into School Furniture

Bolivian Recycling Initiative Turns Plastic Waste Into School Furniture

Reuters - Innovations Video Online (Nov. 26, 2014) — Innovative recycling project in La Paz separates city waste and converts plastic garbage into school furniture made from 'plastiwood'. Tara Cleary reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Blu-Ray Discs Getting Second Run As Solar Panels

Blu-Ray Discs Getting Second Run As Solar Panels

Newsy (Nov. 26, 2014) — Researchers at Northwestern University are repurposing Blu-ray movies for better solar panel technology thanks to the discs' internal structures. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Antarctic Sea Ice Mystery Thickens... Literally

Antarctic Sea Ice Mystery Thickens... Literally

Newsy (Nov. 25, 2014) — Antarctic sea ice isn't only expanding, it's thicker than previously thought, and scientists aren't sure exactly why. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
3D Map of Antarctic Sea Ice to Shed Light on Climate Change

3D Map of Antarctic Sea Ice to Shed Light on Climate Change

Reuters - Innovations Video Online (Nov. 24, 2014) — A multinational group of scientists have released the first ever detailed, high-resolution 3-D maps of Antarctic sea ice. Using an underwater robot equipped with sonar, the researchers mapped the underside of a massive area of sea ice to gauge the impact of climate change. Ben Gruber reports. Video provided by Reuters
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:

Strange & Offbeat Stories

 

Plants & Animals

Earth & Climate

Fossils & Ruins

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