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Quiet tropics; update on Bill Proenza's doings

By: Dr. Jeff Masters , 2:43 PM GMT on June 22, 2007

The tropical Atlantic is quiet today. The low pressure system over northern Florida that brought rain to the state Thursday has moved out to sea and weakened. Wind shear is high over this low, sea surface temperatures beneath it are cool, and I don't expect any development. None of the computer models are showing any tropical development over the next week. Our best chance of a new threat area to watch may not occur until the next strong cold front pushes off the U.S. East Coast. The long range GFS model forecast expects this to happen around Saturday June 30.

Bill Proenza news
In the absence of much to talk about in the tropics, we can always talk about the latest on new NHC director Bill Proenza. The View from the Surface blog is keeping up with the latest. Last night, I listened in to Proenza's comments on the Barometer Bob Show, an Internet radio show. I asked him where he got his numbers of 16% and 10% improvement for 72-hour and 49-hour hurricane track forecasts made using QuikSCAT satellite data (his boss, acting NWS director Mary Glackin, said "I'm not willing to stand by those numbers.") Proenza cited a study done of hurricane tracks from 2003 that showed these improvements, and Margie Kieper is working on getting a copy of this study for the View From the Surface blog. Margie came across a 2006 study which shows that for one storm studied (Hurricane Cindy of 1999), inclusion of QuikSCAT data improved track forecasts at 24 hours and 48 hours by 30-50% (Figure 1). There is also a 2007 study which showed improvements of 25%-50% for 24 hour - 48 hour model track forecasts of 2002's Hurricane Isidore using QuikSCAT data vs. no QuikSCAT data (Figure 2). We'll have more on the ongoing Bill Proenza hullaballo next week, with more info on just how important QuikSCAT is to hurricane forecasting.

Figure 1. Forecast error in the track of Hurricane Cindy (1999) with and without using QuikSCAT data. Image credit: NOAA. Data taken from the 2006 paper, The use of remotely sensed data and innovative modeling to improve hurricane prediction, by Robert Atlas, O. Reale, B-W. Shen, and S-J. Lin.

Figure 2. Forecast error in the track of Hurricane Isidore (2002) with and without using QuikSCAT data. Image credit: American Meteorological Society, "The Impact of Assimilating SSM/I and QuikSCAT Satellite Winds on Hurricane Isidore Simulations", by Shu-Hua Chen. Monthly Weather Review 135, issue 2, pp 549-566, February 2007.

Jeff Masters

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817. Tazmanian
6:48 PM PDT on June 24, 2007

dont need any dry lighting thank you
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816. Skyepony (Mod)
1:42 AM GMT on June 25, 2007
Yeah, 50 structures lost out there in the tohoe area in CA today to fires. Alaska has lost some this weekend too.

Couple points on NELSON's NHC 8:05 see he's commenting on fresh quikscat which the public links aren't working so well on. & Old Mexico?
Member Since: August 10, 2005 Posts: 364 Comments: 42514
813. TheCaneWhisperer
9:46 PM EDT on June 24, 2007
Evening SW!
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812. TheCaneWhisperer
9:46 PM EDT on June 24, 2007
Evening All!

MJO WAVE coming back around on the 29th!
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807. Tazmanian
6:11 PM PDT on June 24, 2007
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806. sporteguy03
1:10 AM GMT on June 25, 2007
According to the 72 hour shear forecast, shear will be low in the Western Atlantic where a tropical wave will approach FL?
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803. BahaHurican
8:49 PM EDT on June 24, 2007

U guys have been having a pretty rough year . . .
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802. sporteguy03
1:00 AM GMT on June 25, 2007
There are Brushfires in Lake County by my apartment.
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800. louastu
12:57 AM GMT on June 25, 2007
That low is nothing to be concerned about. It has a pressure of 1017 mb (which is just 1 mb lower than the high which is sitting over Florida), and no convection. It will more than likely be gone by tomorrow morning.
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799. SCwxwatch
12:57 AM GMT on June 25, 2007
Yeah It was definatley noticable. Im kinda keeping my eye on it.
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794. SCwxwatch
12:53 AM GMT on June 25, 2007
Whats with the spinning east of florida?
Anything to watch?
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793. mermaidlaw
12:44 AM GMT on June 25, 2007
Thank you all so much for the weather information!! I have to go now. I really do appreciate what you do here!! Have a nice night!

Most of you know that I am an older lady with 16 grandkids, and a sick hubby! This information could save a life!! THANKS!!:)
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792. BahaHurican
8:43 PM EDT on June 24, 2007
Thanks, JP.

I'm looking foreward to what Proenza has to say later this season when (as inevitably it will) a hurricane threatens the US . . .

Should be preetty interesting . . .

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791. Tazmanian
5:42 PM PDT on June 24, 2007
where drying up! and so is are lakes has you can see look how dry the grass is you do not want a dry t-storm out her the grass is vary dry some in you dont see in tell later in the year and the later level you see you dont see in tell the end of summer not now and the water level is geting lower and lower!!!!

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790. BahaHurican
8:32 PM EDT on June 24, 2007
I have my page set to show average, and I only see ST/SK or whatever he is calling himself if I choose to (or if someone quotes him :o(

So I am generally pretty happy.
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786. BahaHurican
6:43 PM EDT on June 24, 2007
Evening everyone,

A few thoughts on Bill Proenza and the Sun-Sentinal article / editorial.

I suppose being a wundergrounder I am automatically in Proenza's corner. I know I've felt stifled this week because some of the regularly available resources haven't been available. Imagine PERMANENT inavailability of this information! We'd all be stymied, I think.

I also believe if QuikScat failed suddenly, and the quality of NHC forecasts therefore declined, NHC and especially Proenza as its head (the fall guy) would certainly be blamed by NOAA, and in all likelihood by the media as well. Heads would likely roll, and Proenza's would be the first. I think Proenza is pretty smart to cover himself and his workers as well by placing any blame squarely where it belongs.

It's also sad that at a time when the US is withdrawing funds from local / national need areas to continue a war in a foreign country, at a time when other weather agencies worldwide are INCREASING their forecast capabilities, at a time when the Atlantic is in the midst of an active period, NOAA is so unwilling to replace the vital QuikScat technology. It seems at best thoughtless and at worst negligent, IMO.

So hats off to Proenza. He seems like he may be a rather abrasive guy, but maybe that's what is needed right now. Also Max Mayfield seemed to approve of him as a replacement. Maybe Max knows something we don't.
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785. louastu
12:31 AM GMT on June 25, 2007
Pretty nice site. Wish I could take credit for it. LOL
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781. louastu
12:28 AM GMT on June 25, 2007
Nope... Don't know anything about that. lol
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778. ryang
8:24 PM AST on June 24, 2007
Caster, did you set your comments to ''Show 50 Comments''?, Are is your filter set to show all?
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776. louastu
12:25 AM GMT on June 25, 2007
Sorry... I missed that question before. Yes, I believe that you are correct.
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Dr. Masters co-founded wunderground in 1995. He flew with the NOAA Hurricane Hunters from 1986-1990. Co-blogging with him: Bob Henson, @bhensonweather

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