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 Colorado River's connection with the ocean was a punctuated affair
16.11.2017 | University of Oregon

nachricht Researchers create largest, longest multiphysics earthquake simulation to date
14.11.2017 | Gauss Centre for Supercomputing

All articles from Earth Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

Im Focus: A “cosmic snake” reveals the structure of remote galaxies

The formation of stars in distant galaxies is still largely unexplored. For the first time, astron-omers at the University of Geneva have now been able to closely observe a star system six billion light-years away. In doing so, they are confirming earlier simulations made by the University of Zurich. One special effect is made possible by the multiple reflections of images that run through the cosmos like a snake.

Today, astronomers have a pretty accurate idea of how stars were formed in the recent cosmic past. But do these laws also apply to older galaxies? For around a...

Im Focus: Visual intelligence is not the same as IQ

Just because someone is smart and well-motivated doesn't mean he or she can learn the visual skills needed to excel at tasks like matching fingerprints, interpreting medical X-rays, keeping track of aircraft on radar displays or forensic face matching.

That is the implication of a new study which shows for the first time that there is a broad range of differences in people's visual ability and that these...

Im Focus: Novel Nano-CT device creates high-resolution 3D-X-rays of tiny velvet worm legs

Computer Tomography (CT) is a standard procedure in hospitals, but so far, the technology has not been suitable for imaging extremely small objects. In PNAS, a team from the Technical University of Munich (TUM) describes a Nano-CT device that creates three-dimensional x-ray images at resolutions up to 100 nanometers. The first test application: Together with colleagues from the University of Kassel and Helmholtz-Zentrum Geesthacht the researchers analyzed the locomotory system of a velvet worm.

During a CT analysis, the object under investigation is x-rayed and a detector measures the respective amount of radiation absorbed from various angles....

Im Focus: Researchers Develop Data Bus for Quantum Computer

The quantum world is fragile; error correction codes are needed to protect the information stored in a quantum object from the deteriorating effects of noise. Quantum physicists in Innsbruck have developed a protocol to pass quantum information between differently encoded building blocks of a future quantum computer, such as processors and memories. Scientists may use this protocol in the future to build a data bus for quantum computers. The researchers have published their work in the journal Nature Communications.

Future quantum computers will be able to solve problems where conventional computers fail today. We are still far away from any large-scale implementation,...

Im Focus: Wrinkles give heat a jolt in pillared graphene

Rice University researchers test 3-D carbon nanostructures' thermal transport abilities

Pillared graphene would transfer heat better if the theoretical material had a few asymmetric junctions that caused wrinkles, according to Rice University...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Ecology Across Borders: International conference brings together 1,500 ecologists

15.11.2017 | Event News

Road into laboratory: Users discuss biaxial fatigue-testing for car and truck wheel

15.11.2017 | Event News

#Berlin5GWeek: The right network for Industry 4.0

30.10.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

NASA detects solar flare pulses at Sun and Earth

17.11.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

NIST scientists discover how to switch liver cancer cell growth from 2-D to 3-D structures

17.11.2017 | Health and Medicine

The importance of biodiversity in forests could increase due to climate change

17.11.2017 | Studies and Analyses

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>