Further improvements to the Statistical Hurricane Intensity Prediction Scheme (SHIPS)

Mark DeMaria, Michelle Mainelli, Lynn K. Shay, John A. Knaff, John Kaplan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

410 Scopus citations


Modifications to the Atlantic and east Pacific versions of the operational Statistical Hurricane Intensity Prediction Scheme (SHIPS) for each year from 1997 to 2003 are described. Major changes include the addition of a method to account for the storm decay over land in 2000, the extension of the forecasts from 3 to 5 days in 2001, and the use of an operational global model for the evaluation of the atmospheric predictors instead of a simple dry-adiabatic model beginning in 2001. A verification of the SHIPS operational intensity forecasts is presented. Results show that the 1997-2003 SHIPS forecasts had statistically significant skill (relative to climatology and persistence) out to 72 h in the Atlantic, and at 48 and 72 h in the east Pacific. The inclusion of the land effects reduced the intensity errors by up to 15% in the Atlantic, and up to 3% in the east Pacific, primarily for the shorter-range forecasts. The inclusion of land effects did not significantly degrade the forecasts at any time period. Results also showed that the 4-5-day forecasts that began in 2001 did not have skill in the Atlantic, but had some skill in the east Pacific. An experimental version of SHIPS that included satellite observations was tested during the 2002 and 2003 seasons. New predictors included brightness temperature information from Geostationary Operational Environmental Satellite (GOES) channel 4 (10.7 μm) imagery, and oceanic heat content (OHC) estimates inferred from satellite altimetry observations. The OHC estimates were only available for the Atlantic basin. The GOES data significantly improved the east Pacific forecasts by up to 7% at 12-72 h. The combination of GOES and satellite altimetry improved the Atlantic forecasts by up to 3.5% through 72 h for those storms west of 50°W.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)531-543
Number of pages13
JournalWeather and Forecasting
Issue number4
StatePublished - Aug 2005

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Atmospheric Science


Dive into the research topics of 'Further improvements to the Statistical Hurricane Intensity Prediction Scheme (SHIPS)'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this