Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:


Real time forecast of Hurricane Sandy had track and intensity accuracy

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.

The National Science Foundation, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, NASA and the Office of Naval Research supported this work. Yonghui Weng, a research associate in Zhang's group, performed the real-time WRF-EnKF runs.

A'ndrea Elyse Messer | EurekAlert!
Further information:

More articles from Earth Sciences:

nachricht NASA's Terra satellite sees Typhoon In-fa stretching
24.11.2015 | NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center

nachricht To save the earth, better nitrogen use on a hungrier planet must be addressed
24.11.2015 | Princeton University, Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs

All articles from Earth Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Lactate for Brain Energy

Nerve cells cover their high energy demand with glucose and lactate. Scientists of the University of Zurich now provide new support for this. They show for the first time in the intact mouse brain evidence for an exchange of lactate between different brain cells. With this study they were able to confirm a 20-year old hypothesis.

In comparison to other organs, the human brain has the highest energy requirements. The supply of energy for nerve cells and the particular role of lactic acid...

Im Focus: Laser process simulation available as app for first time

In laser material processing, the simulation of processes has made great strides over the past few years. Today, the software can predict relatively well what will happen on the workpiece. Unfortunately, it is also highly complex and requires a lot of computing time. Thanks to clever simplification, experts from Fraunhofer ILT are now able to offer the first-ever simulation software that calculates processes in real time and also runs on tablet computers and smartphones. The fast software enables users to do without expensive experiments and to find optimum process parameters even more effectively.

Before now, the reliable simulation of laser processes was a job for experts. Armed with sophisticated software packages and after many hours on computer...

Im Focus: Quantum Simulation: A Better Understanding of Magnetism

Heidelberg physicists use ultracold atoms to imitate the behaviour of electrons in a solid

Researchers at Heidelberg University have devised a new way to study the phenomenon of magnetism. Using ultracold atoms at near absolute zero, they prepared a...

Im Focus: Climate Change: Warm water is mixing up life in the Arctic

AWI researchers’ unique 15-year observation series reveals how sensitive marine ecosystems in polar regions are to change

The warming of arctic waters in the wake of climate change is likely to produce radical changes in the marine habitats of the High North. This is indicated by...

Im Focus: Nanocarriers may carry new hope for brain cancer therapy

Berkeley Lab researchers develop nanoparticles that can carry therapeutics across the brain blood barrier

Glioblastoma multiforme, a cancer of the brain also known as "octopus tumors" because of the manner in which the cancer cells extend their tendrils into...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>



Event News

Gluten oder nicht Gluten? Überempfindlichkeit auf Weizen kann unterschiedliche Ursachen haben

17.11.2015 | Event News

Art Collection Deutsche Börse zeigt Ausstellung „Traces of Disorder“

21.10.2015 | Event News

Siemens Healthcare introduces the Cios family of mobile C-arms

20.10.2015 | Event News

Latest News

Plant Defense as a Biotech Tool

25.11.2015 | Life Sciences

“move“ – on course for the mobility of the future

25.11.2015 | Power and Electrical Engineering

Understanding a missing link in how antidepressants work

25.11.2015 | Life Sciences

More VideoLinks >>>