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 World’s oldest known oxygen oasis discovered
18.01.2018 | Eberhard Karls Universität Tübingen

nachricht A close-up look at an uncommon underwater eruption
11.01.2018 | Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution

All articles from Earth Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

Im Focus: Artificial agent designs quantum experiments

On the way to an intelligent laboratory, physicists from Innsbruck and Vienna present an artificial agent that autonomously designs quantum experiments. In initial experiments, the system has independently (re)discovered experimental techniques that are nowadays standard in modern quantum optical laboratories. This shows how machines could play a more creative role in research in the future.

We carry smartphones in our pockets, the streets are dotted with semi-autonomous cars, but in the research laboratory experiments are still being designed by...

Im Focus: Scientists decipher key principle behind reaction of metalloenzymes

So-called pre-distorted states accelerate photochemical reactions too

What enables electrons to be transferred swiftly, for example during photosynthesis? An interdisciplinary team of researchers has worked out the details of how...

Im Focus: The first precise measurement of a single molecule's effective charge

For the first time, scientists have precisely measured the effective electrical charge of a single molecule in solution. This fundamental insight of an SNSF Professor could also pave the way for future medical diagnostics.

Electrical charge is one of the key properties that allows molecules to interact. Life itself depends on this phenomenon: many biological processes involve...

Im Focus: Paradigm shift in Paris: Encouraging an holistic view of laser machining

At the JEC World Composite Show in Paris in March 2018, the Fraunhofer Institute for Laser Technology ILT will be focusing on the latest trends and innovations in laser machining of composites. Among other things, researchers at the booth shared with the Aachen Center for Integrative Lightweight Production (AZL) will demonstrate how lasers can be used for joining, structuring, cutting and drilling composite materials.

No other industry has attracted as much public attention to composite materials as the automotive industry, which along with the aerospace industry is a driver...

Im Focus: Room-temperature multiferroic thin films and their properties

Scientists at Tokyo Institute of Technology (Tokyo Tech) and Tohoku University have developed high-quality GFO epitaxial films and systematically investigated their ferroelectric and ferromagnetic properties. They also demonstrated the room-temperature magnetocapacitance effects of these GFO thin films.

Multiferroic materials show magnetically driven ferroelectricity. They are attracting increasing attention because of their fascinating properties such as...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

10th International Symposium: “Advanced Battery Power – Kraftwerk Batterie” Münster, 10-11 April 2018

08.01.2018 | Event News

See, understand and experience the work of the future

11.12.2017 | Event News

Innovative strategies to tackle parasitic worms

08.12.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Let the good tubes roll

19.01.2018 | Materials Sciences

How cancer metastasis happens: Researchers reveal a key mechanism

19.01.2018 | Health and Medicine

Meteoritic stardust unlocks timing of supernova dust formation

19.01.2018 | Physics and Astronomy

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>