Predicting hurricane intensity and associated hazards: A five-year real-time forecast experiment with assimilation of airborne doppler radar observations

Fuqing Zhang, Yonghui Weng

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

67 Scopus citations

Abstract

Performance in the prediction of hurricane intensity and associated hazards has been evaluated for a newly developed convection-permitting forecast system that uses ensemble data assimilation techniques to ingest high-resolution airborne radar observations from the inner core. This system performed well for three of the ten costliest Atlantic hurricanes: Ike (2008), Irene (2011), and Sandy (2012). Four to five days before these storms made landfall, the system produced good deterministic and probabilistic forecasts of not only track and intensity, but also of the spatial distributions of surface wind and rainfall. Averaged over all 102 applicable cases that have inner-core airborne Doppler radar observations during 2008-2012, the system reduced the day-2-to-day-4 intensity forecast errors by 25%-28% compared to the corresponding National Hurricane Center's official forecasts (which have seen little or no decrease in intensity forecast errors over the past two decades). Empowered by sufficient computing resources, advances in both deterministic and probabilistic hurricane prediction will enable emergency management officials, the private sector, and the general public to make more informed decisions that minimize the losses of life and property.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)25-33
Number of pages9
JournalBulletin of the American Meteorological Society
Volume96
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Jan 1 2015

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Atmospheric Science

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