A comparison of adaptive observing guidance for atlantic tropical cyclones

Sharanya J. Majumdar, S. D. Aberson, C. H. Bishop, R. Buizza, M. S. Peng, C. A. Reynolds

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

79 Scopus citations


Airborne adaptive observations have been collected for more than two decades in the neighborhood of tropical cyclones, to attempt to improve short-range forecasts of cyclone track. However, only simple subjective strategies for adaptive observations have been used, and the utility of objective strategies to improve tropical cyclone forecasts remains unexplored. Two objective techniques that have been used extensively for midlatitude adaptive observing programs, and the current strategy based on the ensemble deep-layer mean (DLM) wind variance, are compared quantitatively using two metrics. The ensemble transform Kalman filter (ETKF) uses ensembles from NCEP and the ECMWF. Total-energy singular vectors (TESVs) are computed by the ECMWF and the Naval Research Laboratory, using their respective global models. Comparisons of 78 guidance products for 2-day forecasts during the 2004 Atlantic hurricane season are made, on both continental and localized scales relevant to synoptic surveillance missions. The ECMWF and NRL TESV guidance identifies similar large-scale target regions in 90% of the cases, but are less similar to each other in the local tropical cyclone environment (56% of the cases) with a more stringent criterion for similarity. For major hurricanes, all techniques usually indicate targets close to the storm center. For weaker tropical cyclones, the TESV guidance selects similar targets to those from the ETKF (DLM wind variance) in only 30% (20%) of the cases. ETKF guidance using the ECMWF ensemble is more like that provided by the NCEP ensemble (and DLM wind variance) for major hurricanes than for weaker tropical cyclones. Minor differences in these results occur when a different metric based on the ranking of fixed storm-relative regions is used.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2354-2372
Number of pages19
JournalMonthly Weather Review
Issue number9
StatePublished - Sep 1 2006

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Atmospheric Science


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