Hurricane surface wind is a key measure of storm intensity. However, a climatology of hurricane winds is lacking to date, largely because hurricanes are relatively rare events and difficult to observe over the open ocean. Here we present a new hurricane wind climatology based on objective surface wind analyses, which are derived from Stepped Frequency Microwave Radiometer measurements acquired by NOAA WP-3D and U.S. Air Force WC-130J hurricane hunter aircraft. The wind data were collected during 72 aircraft reconnaissance missions into 21 western Atlantic hurricanes from 1998 to 2012. This climatology provides an opportunity to validate hurricane intensity forecasts beyond the simplistic maximum wind speed metric and allows evaluating the predictive skill of probabilistic hurricane intensity forecasts using high-resolution model ensembles. An example of application is presented here using a 1.3km grid spacing Weather Research and Forecasting model ensemble forecast of Hurricane Earl (2010).
- predictive skill
- rapid intensification
- tropical cyclone
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Earth and Planetary Sciences(all)