Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Breakthrough in forecasting US hurricane activity by UCL scientists

21.04.2005


The strength of hurricane activity striking the United States during the main hurricane season can now be predicted with significant accuracy thanks to a new computer model developed by scientists at University College London (UCL).



The model, unveiled in a paper in the 21 April issue of the journal Nature, will enable government, public, emergency planning bodies and insurers with US interests to receive warning in early August of the likelihood of either high or low hurricane damage during the subsequent main hurricane season from August to October. This scientific breakthrough offers the potential to significantly reduce the financial risk and uncertainty associated with each hurricane season.

The model, developed by Dr Mark Saunders and Dr Adam Lea of the UCL-based Benfield Hazard Research Centre and Tropical Storm Risk forecasting venture, uses anomalies in wind patterns from six regions over North America and the east Pacific and North Atlantic oceans during July to predict the wind energy of US striking hurricanes for the main hurricane season. The July wind anomalies are from heights between 750 and 7,500 metres above sea level and exhibit a consistent and significant link to the energy of US landfalling hurricanes during the subsequent hurricane season. The wind anomalies in these regions are indicative of atmospheric circulation patterns that either favour or hinder evolving hurricanes from reaching US shores.


The large year-on-year variability in the number of hurricanes making US landfall means that skilful seasonal forecasts of activity would benefit both individuals and a range of decision-makers. Hurricanes afflict Florida, the eastern seaboard and the Gulf Coast. They rank as the US’s most expensive natural disaster and are responsible for eight of the 10 most costly catastrophes to have affected the country. The annual average damage bill from hurricane strikes on the continental US between 1950 and 2004 is estimated at $5.6 billion (at 2004 prices).

The model correctly anticipated whether US hurricane losses were above-median or below-median in 74% of the years between 1950 and 2003. It also performed well in ‘real-time’ operation in 2004, predicting US landfalling hurricane wind energy in the upper quartile for this active and damaging hurricane season. Insurers and others would have reduced their losses in 2004 by acting upon the forecast.

“For over two decades scientists have been attempting - with limited success - to deliver seasonal predictions of hurricane activity reaching the coast of the United States,” said Dr Saunders. “This study is the first to offer forecast precision which is high enough to be practically useful. Our use of height-averaged winds as a predictor is innovative for seasonal weather forecasting and may benefit the seasonal prediction of tropical storm landfalls elsewhere in the world. All those with an interest may access our forecast for the 2005 US hurricane season from www.tropicalstormrisk.com on the 4th August.”

Dominique Fourniol | alfa
Further information:
http://www.ucl.ac.uk
http://www.tropicalstormrisk.com

More articles from Earth Sciences:

nachricht In times of climate change: What a lake’s colour can tell about its condition
21.09.2017 | Leibniz-Institut für Gewässerökologie und Binnenfischerei (IGB)

nachricht Did marine sponges trigger the ‘Cambrian explosion’ through ‘ecosystem engineering’?
21.09.2017 | Helmholtz-Zentrum Potsdam - Deutsches GeoForschungsZentrum GFZ

All articles from Earth Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

Im Focus: The pyrenoid is a carbon-fixing liquid droplet

Plants and algae use the enzyme Rubisco to fix carbon dioxide, removing it from the atmosphere and converting it into biomass. Algae have figured out a way to increase the efficiency of carbon fixation. They gather most of their Rubisco into a ball-shaped microcompartment called the pyrenoid, which they flood with a high local concentration of carbon dioxide. A team of scientists at Princeton University, the Carnegie Institution for Science, Stanford University and the Max Plank Institute of Biochemistry have unravelled the mysteries of how the pyrenoid is assembled. These insights can help to engineer crops that remove more carbon dioxide from the atmosphere while producing more food.

A warming planet

Im Focus: Highly precise wiring in the Cerebral Cortex

Our brains house extremely complex neuronal circuits, whose detailed structures are still largely unknown. This is especially true for the so-called cerebral cortex of mammals, where among other things vision, thoughts or spatial orientation are being computed. Here the rules by which nerve cells are connected to each other are only partly understood. A team of scientists around Moritz Helmstaedter at the Frankfiurt Max Planck Institute for Brain Research and Helene Schmidt (Humboldt University in Berlin) have now discovered a surprisingly precise nerve cell connectivity pattern in the part of the cerebral cortex that is responsible for orienting the individual animal or human in space.

The researchers report online in Nature (Schmidt et al., 2017. Axonal synapse sorting in medial entorhinal cortex, DOI: 10.1038/nature24005) that synapses in...

Im Focus: Tiny lasers from a gallery of whispers

New technique promises tunable laser devices

Whispering gallery mode (WGM) resonators are used to make tiny micro-lasers, sensors, switches, routers and other devices. These tiny structures rely on a...

Im Focus: Ultrafast snapshots of relaxing electrons in solids

Using ultrafast flashes of laser and x-ray radiation, scientists at the Max Planck Institute of Quantum Optics (Garching, Germany) took snapshots of the briefest electron motion inside a solid material to date. The electron motion lasted only 750 billionths of the billionth of a second before it fainted, setting a new record of human capability to capture ultrafast processes inside solids!

When x-rays shine onto solid materials or large molecules, an electron is pushed away from its original place near the nucleus of the atom, leaving a hole...

Im Focus: Quantum Sensors Decipher Magnetic Ordering in a New Semiconducting Material

For the first time, physicists have successfully imaged spiral magnetic ordering in a multiferroic material. These materials are considered highly promising candidates for future data storage media. The researchers were able to prove their findings using unique quantum sensors that were developed at Basel University and that can analyze electromagnetic fields on the nanometer scale. The results – obtained by scientists from the University of Basel’s Department of Physics, the Swiss Nanoscience Institute, the University of Montpellier and several laboratories from University Paris-Saclay – were recently published in the journal Nature.

Multiferroics are materials that simultaneously react to electric and magnetic fields. These two properties are rarely found together, and their combined...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

“Lasers in Composites Symposium” in Aachen – from Science to Application

19.09.2017 | Event News

I-ESA 2018 – Call for Papers

12.09.2017 | Event News

EMBO at Basel Life, a new conference on current and emerging life science research

06.09.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Rainbow colors reveal cell history: Uncovering β-cell heterogeneity

22.09.2017 | Life Sciences

Penn first in world to treat patient with new radiation technology

22.09.2017 | Medical Engineering

Calculating quietness

22.09.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>