Restoring confidence in NHC

By: Dr. Jeff Masters , 12:24 PM GMT on July 11, 2007

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There are no threat areas in the tropical Atlantic to discuss, and none of the computer models are forecasting tropical storm formation over the coming week. In the Pacific, an exceptionally large Category 4 typhoon, Man-Yi, will pass close to Okinawa on Friday, and hit Japan on Saturday. Winds at Okinawa have been as high as 50 mph with gusts to 70 mph.

Some links on Man-Yi, sent to me by Jim Edds:

Live camera feed from Southern Okinawa:

click on the pic arrow on the bottom right.

Okinawa radar.
click on Okinawa to zoom in - awesome shot

Camera feed with some audio.
click on the first "no image" box then select "report 17/66"


Latest satellite image of Typhoon Man-Yi, courtesy of NOAA.

Restoring confidence in the NHC
Interim National Hurricane Director Dr. Ed Rappaport has two immediate tasks--restoring morale fractured by Bill Proenza's turbulent 6-month tenure, and restoring public confidence in the Hurricane Center's ability to do their job. With the steadying influence of Dr. Rappaport, a highly respected and talented hurricane scientist, I expect that the staff of NHC will put out their best hurricane forecasts ever this season. Aiding in this endeavor will be the availability of a new hurricane tracking, intensity, and storm surge model called the HWRF--Hurricane Weather and Research Forecast Model. In addition, several of the other reliable models used by the forecasters, such as the GFS and GFDL, have had upgrades since last hurricane season. Furthermore, the Air Force Hurricane Hunters will be carrying the SFMR instrument for the first time, which can measure winds speeds at the ocean surface everywhere the aircraft fly.

Forecasters at the National Hurricane Center made their best track forecasts ever for storms in the Atlantic in 2006. The mean track errors for 12 to 72 hour forecasts were 15% - 20% lower than during 2001-2005. Track errors for Atlantic storms have improved about 50% in the past 15 years (Figure 1), a remarkable achievement that has undoubtedly saved lives and hundreds of millions of dollars. The track error in 2006 for a 24 hour forecast was 58 miles; 112 miles for a 48 hour forecast; and 171 miles for a 72 hour forecast. Track errors for 96 and 120 hour forecasts were 236 miles and 305 miles--the second best on record (2003 set the record). NHC's long-range 120 hour forecasts had a significant bias to the west of 94 miles--about double the bias of what the computer models were forecasting. Thus, when the models correctly called for systems to recurve out to sea, NHC human forecasters tended to resist following what the models were saying.



Figure 1. Track forecast skill since 1990 in the Atlantic for the official NHC forecasts. Track errors are given in nautical miles (100 n mi = 115 miles). Skill is rated compared to a "zero skill" forecast using NHC's CLIPER5 model. The CLIPER model (short for CLImatology and PERsistence) is a model that makes a forecast based on historical paths hurricane have taken, along with the fact that hurricanes tend to keep moving in the direction they are going (i.e., their current motion persists).

Intensity forecasts
Intensity forecasts since 1990 have shown little or no improvement, and 2006 was no exception (Figure 2). One encouraging result was the emergence of the GFDL's intensity model as the best intensity model for 2006. This is the first time that a non-statistical model has made the best intensity forecasts. With the major improvements that were added for the 2007 version of the GFDL, plus the availability of the HWRF model, I am hopeful that this year will see the first noticeable improvement in intensity forecasts since 1990.



Figure 2. Intensity forecast skill since 1990 of the official NHC Atlantic forecasts. Intensity errors are given in knots (10 knots = 11.5 mph).

Jeff Masters

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988. AdamGirard
12:24 PM EDT on July 12, 2007
whoops, typo, I meant to Mars and the moon again...but the rest of it stands. I'm not trying to start a debate or Bush bashing but it is reasonable to think he is somewhat responsible.
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986. bobw999
12:21 PM EDT on July 12, 2007
Maybe if we get our funding out of Iraq and than we could start funding things that matter (to us) like weather. And I never hear anything from Afghanistan anymore.
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985. Patrap
11:20 AM CDT on July 12, 2007
Weve been to MArs?
I missed that week apparently..
All benefit from Manned Space Exploration.
Without it..we wouldnt have an IR view..or a Quickscat or DirectTV.
Member Since: July 3, 2005 Posts: 421 Comments: 127559
984. benirica
4:20 PM GMT on July 12, 2007
tv weather report with the hurricane expert on in a few seconds here in Puerto Rico... i'll let you all know what she thinks of the wave. yesterday she said it had held together long enough to look at and that it will bring rain by monday.
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982. AdamGirard
12:10 PM EDT on July 12, 2007
It is reasonable to put some blame on Bush. NASA is focused on sending men to the moon and Mars again and a lot of other programs are suffering because of that.

Also, he has consistently given the NWS poor funding.

It's not a liberal conspiracy, both of those fall squarely on the president's shoulders.
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981. IKE
11:17 AM CDT on July 12, 2007
San Juan,PR....on the much debated tropical wave.....

"No weather feature is expected to produce significant weather until
Sunday when a tropical wave now located at around 35 west is
expected to move across the local forecast area."
Member Since: June 9, 2005 Posts: 23 Comments: 37858
976. MisterPerfect
4:13 PM GMT on July 12, 2007
I'm not liberal...I just think Bush is the worst president in the history of this country. Actually, most conservatives would agree.

Andrew Johnson, Rutherford B. Hayes, William Henry Harrison, there have been worse throughout history.
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973. nash28
4:11 PM GMT on July 12, 2007
Guys, I haven't seen many 1008mb hurricanes. The GEM is forecasting a TD by those pressure readings...

The fact that it is several days out really gives me no reason to put any stock into it.
Member Since: July 11, 2005 Posts: 190 Comments: 16972
972. Patrap
11:13 AM CDT on July 12, 2007
6
Member Since: July 3, 2005 Posts: 421 Comments: 127559
969. Patrap
11:09 AM CDT on July 12, 2007
WEAX page..click on the USNS Sumner..on the bottom of the page for a look at MAn-yi from a different view

Link
Member Since: July 3, 2005 Posts: 421 Comments: 127559
966. StormJunkie
4:08 PM GMT on July 12, 2007
Yes rm, thanks pat and STL ☺

Back to work. See y'all later
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963. hcubed
11:06 AM CDT on July 12, 2007
"Posted By: Altestic97L at 10:55 AM CDT on July 12, 2007.

anwser my question first"


Probably not answering you because the odds are good you won't be around long enough to read it...
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961. hcubed
11:03 AM CDT on July 12, 2007
"Posted By: sandcrab39565 at 10:50 AM CDT on July 12, 2007.

The grim assessment of future capabilities -- no concern was expressed about current forecasts -- came just two days after Bill Proenza lost his post as director of the National Hurricane Center amid a controversy involving a dying weather satellite.

''The bottom line is we are very vulnerable in the long term because we have no plan for replacing a valuable but aging weather satellite,'' Sen. Bill Nelson, D-Fla., said after he chaired a hearing of the Senate Commerce Committee.

He said the federal effort to replace the satellite was being mismanaged by a ''a hydra-headed monster'' of agencies.

He criticized the Bush administration for a ''lack of interest or political will'' to deal with climate issues.

Nelson said hurricane losses have averaged $36 billion per year during the past five years, but the federal government was spending less than $1 billion annually on satellite and other weather-data-gathering platforms."


And don't forget NOAA's 200th anniversary, too.

Wondered how long it would take the Dems to blame Bush. Looks like Proenza was right, after all...
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960. IKE
10:59 AM CDT on July 12, 2007
Posted By: K8eCane at 10:34 AM CDT on July 12, 2007.
why do you guys spend so much time mulling over theses waves?
i mean everyone seems to practically worship the models.


What do you want to talk about on a tropical weather blog?
Member Since: June 9, 2005 Posts: 23 Comments: 37858
958. StormJunkie
3:58 PM GMT on July 12, 2007
Not a dumb question rm, and it is why I asked pat the question about learning to read area discussions.

My understanding is it is a measure of heat and water content in the air. Unless I am confusing it with pwats...Which is why I want the page about learning to understand discussions ☺
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957. Patrap
10:57 AM CDT on July 12, 2007
One might want to browse here SJ...maybe get some info. Link
Member Since: July 3, 2005 Posts: 421 Comments: 127559
956. hcubed
10:56 AM CDT on July 12, 2007
"Posted By: Altestic97L at 10:48 AM CDT on July 12, 2007.

Is the wave/low "consolidating" mean a good thing or a bad thing?

BTW, I think man yi has peaked."


Welcome back. Another name change, another chance to be banned. What's the score now?
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954. Patrap
10:54 AM CDT on July 12, 2007
Ouch..hope all is well.
Member Since: July 3, 2005 Posts: 421 Comments: 127559
953. gthsii
3:51 PM GMT on July 12, 2007
[also stands up]: I am a Tropical Weather Addict...to the detriment of all else in my life.

and all this talk about videogames being addictive...they pay no attention to us trop weather addicts.

EDIT: meant to add a smilie...this is all tongue in cheek
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950. StormJunkie
3:49 PM GMT on July 12, 2007
JACKSONVILLE
MODIFIED SOUNDING SHOWS CAPE VALUES AT AN IMPRESSIVE 3600 J/KG
THIS AFTERNOON
From the Charleston area discussion.

Watch out Jax, it could be a bumpy afternoon with those cape values.

Pat, when I got to shown around the NWS office earlier this week I learned several things about the discussions that I did not know. Is there a page that teaches you how to read discussions? Thanks, and good to see ya. Been Busy lately. Girls car was wrecked this week. Some lady tried to pull a U'y at 30+ and took out two parked cars at once...
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949. hcubed
10:52 AM CDT on July 12, 2007
"Posted By: StormJunkie at 10:42 AM CDT on July 12, 2007.

Afternoon all.

rm-You can find most of the graphical model pages from the Quick Links page.

Hey K8, good to see ya, hope all is well.

Thanks hcubed, good info ☺"


Hopefully, this will help when the question comes up: "where is this thing located?"
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948. sandcrab39565
10:49 AM CDT on July 12, 2007
HURRICANE SEASON
Future forecasts face uncertainty
The accuracy of future hurricane forecasts could be threatened by an underfunded, botched program to improve monitoring devices, experts said.
BY PABLO BACHELET AND MARTIN MERZER
pbachelet@MiamiHerald.com

AP FILE PHOTO, 2004
Interim National Hurricane Center director Ed Rappaport inherits an agency that has aging equipment and cost overruns.
Special section | Hurricane 2007

WASHINGTON -- Aging equipment, cost overruns and delays in producing new satellites threaten the future ability of forecasters to predict the path and intensity of hurricanes, a panel of experts and officials told lawmakers Wednesday.

The grim assessment of future capabilities -- no concern was expressed about current forecasts -- came just two days after Bill Proenza lost his post as director of the National Hurricane Center amid a controversy involving a dying weather satellite.

''The bottom line is we are very vulnerable in the long term because we have no plan for replacing a valuable but aging weather satellite,'' Sen. Bill Nelson, D-Fla., said after he chaired a hearing of the Senate Commerce Committee.

He said the federal effort to replace the satellite was being mismanaged by a ''a hydra-headed monster'' of agencies.

If important data cannot be collected in the future, he and others said, hurricane-warning areas might have to be widened, potentially causing unnecessary anxiety and expense.

''I can't think of any priority that is higher in the nation's needs, because the threat is real, the threat is there, the vulnerability is there and it's not going to go away,'' Greg Holland of the National Center for Atmospheric Research told congressional staffers Tuesday.

He and other experts told lawmakers Wednesday that the satellite, called QuikScat, was launched in 1999 on a three-year mission to measure winds over distant regions of the ocean.

It now is in its eighth year, operating on a backup transmitter. The National Aeronautics and Space Administration expects it to operate for several more years, though there are no guarantees.

Forecasters and researchers have been lobbying for an upgraded replacement through an ambitious program known as the National Polar-orbiting Operational Environmental Satellite System (NPOESS), which was supposed to begin rolling out in 2009.

`DEBACLE'

But NPOESS has suffered billions of dollars in cost overruns, the experts said. A downgraded program is expected to launch in 2013. A program to replace other satellites, known as GEOS-R, also is running into trouble.

Antonio Busalacchi, a scientist with the University of Maryland and head of a National Research Council panel looking into NPOESS, called NPOESS a ''debacle'' that compromised ''critical'' gathering of data about ocean surface winds and other factors.

Nelson agreed, saying NPOESS was ``bogged down by budget constraints and delays for which someone needs to be held accountable.''

He criticized the Bush administration for a ''lack of interest or political will'' to deal with climate issues.

Nelson said hurricane losses have averaged $36 billion per year during the past five years, but the federal government was spending less than $1 billion annually on satellite and other weather-data-gathering platforms.

Democratic Rep. Ron Klein of Fort Lauderdale warned the panel this could ``cause dire consequences to residents living in South Florida and the over 50 percent of Americans who live within 50 miles of a coastline.''

Authorities have other tools at their disposal, including weather buoys and hurricane-hunter aircraft outfitted with sophisticated equipment. But, Klein added, those planes cannot reach distant areas now monitored by QuikScat.

PROENZA'S POINTS

Proenza repeatedly made the same points after he took over the hurricane center in West Miami-Dade County in January, but critics -- ultimately including most of his own forecasters -- said he was magnifying the importance of QuikScat and undermining confidence in their forecasts.

On Monday, after an unprecedented public rebellion of his staff and months of clashes with superiors at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration in Washington, Proenza was relieved of duty and placed on indefinite leave.

DELAYS, OVERRUNS

NPOESS, according to a report by the Government Accountability Office, was supposed to cost $6.5 billion over a 24-year life, with the first satellite launch planned for April 2009.

Last year, the program was revised because of technical delays and rising costs. Now, it is expected to cost $12.5 billion, with the first satellite launch planned in 2013.

In addition, the number of satellites has been cut from six to four. The system will carry seven sensors instead of 10 and gather 39 data records -- 16 fewer than the original program. The GAO warned that more revisions could take place.

The ability to better understand the climate and improve forecasts could be diminished for ''generations to come,'' Busalacchi said.

CONFLICTS

NPOESS was managed by several agencies, including the Department of Defense, NASA and NOAA. The result, said Nelson, was ``a hydra-headed monster here who can't decide which way it wants to go.''

Mary Ellen Kicza, NOAA's assistant administrator for satellite and information services, said interagency coordination was improving. NASA now is in charge of developing instruments, spacecraft and launch systems, while NOAA would operate the satellites.

She said the program had to be downgraded to ensure ''continuity'' of data gathering, and NOAA and NASA were looking at ways to mitigate the impact of the cutbacks.



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946. Patrap
10:47 AM CDT on July 12, 2007
Current JTWC Warnings and Advisories
Link
Member Since: July 3, 2005 Posts: 421 Comments: 127559
945. Patrap
10:43 AM CDT on July 12, 2007
Naha ,Okinawa Obs
74%
Dew Point: 75 F / 24 C
Wind: 32 mph / 52 km/h / 14.4 m/s from the East
Wind Gust: 51 mph / 82 km/h / 22.6 m/s
Pressure: 29.00 in / 982 hPa (Falling)
Heat Index: 92 F / 34 C
Visibility: 4.3 miles / 7.0 kilometers
UV: 0 out of 16
Clouds: Few 900 ft / 274 m
Mostly Cloudy 2000 ft / 609 m
(Above Ground Level)
Member Since: July 3, 2005 Posts: 421 Comments: 127559
944. NormalGuy
3:42 PM GMT on July 12, 2007
"STANDS UP" My name is Paul and I am addicted to Tropics..

Room: HELLO PAUL, in unison....
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943. Patrap
10:41 AM CDT on July 12, 2007
Man-yi - Prognostic Reasoning

WDPN31 PGTW 121500
MSGID/GENADMIN/NAVPACMETOCCEN PEARL HARBOR HI/JTWC//
SUBJ/PROGNOSTIC REASONING FOR TYPHOON 04W WARNING NR 21//
RMKS/
1. FOR METEOROLOGISTS.
2. 12 HOUR SUMMARY AND ANALYSIS.
A. TYPHOON (TY) 04W (MAN-YI) HAS INTENSIFIED TO 125 KTS, WITH THE
EYE DIAMETER STEADY AT 30 NM. A 120934Z SSMI MICROWAVE IMAGE SHOWS
DEEP CONVECTION ASSOCIATED WITH THE EYE WALL, AND SPIRAL BANDING
ON THE SOUTHERN SIDE OF THE STORM, THIS IMAGE ALSO SHOWS A LACK OF DEEP
CONVECTION IN THE NORTHERN AND WESTERN QUADRANTS. ANALYSIS OF ANIMATED
WATER VAPOR IMAGERY INDICATES STRONG EQUATORWARD OUTFLOW WITH A WEAK
POLEWARD OUTFLOW CHANNEL. TY 04W TRACKED NORTHWESTWARD AT 15 KNOTS OVER
THE PAST SIX HOURS.
B. TYPHOON (TY) 04W (MAN-YI) IS LOCATED APPROXIMATELY 150 NM SOUTH-
SOUTH OF NAHA, OKINAWA, WITH HIGH CONFIDENCE IN POSITION DUE TO
THE WELL-DEFINED EYE. THE CURRENT INTENSITY OF 125 KNOTS IS BASED ON
DVORAK ESTIMATES OF 6.5/6.5. THE SYSTEM REMAINS SOUTH OF THE SUBTROPICAL
RIDGE (STR) AXIS, ALTHOUGH THE SYSTEM IS VERY CLOSE TO THE RIDGE AXIS.
A. THE FORECAST PHILOSOPHY FOR TY 04W REMAINS UNCHANGED: THE
STORM IS EXPECTED TO TRACK ALONG A STANDARD POLEWARD FLOW SYNOPTIC
PATTERN AROUND THE AXIS OF THE STR. ONCE NORTH OF STR AXIS THE STORM
WILL UNDERGO EXTRATROPICAL TRANSITION.
B. TY 04W IS TRACKING NORTH-NORTHWESTWARD TOWARD A BREAK IN THE STR
OVER OKINAWA. TY 04W WILL REACH THIS BREAK NEAR TAU 12, AND SUBSEQUENTLY
TURN NORTHEAST. THE TC WILL INTERACT WITH THE MIDLATITUDE BAROCLINIC ZONE
AND BEGIN EXTRATROPICAL TRANSITION (ET) SOUTH OF JAPAN NEAR TAU 48. THE
UPPER LEVEL MIDLATITUDE LOW CURRENTLY OVER THE KOREAN PENINSULA WILL
FURTHER CONTRIBUTE TO THE ET OF TY 04W AND WILL AID IN THE ACCELERATION
OF THE STORM TO THE NORTHEAST. THE DYNAMIC AIDS ARE IN GOOD AGREEMENT
THROUGH TAU 48, BUT THEN BEGIN TO DIVERGE AS ET BEGINS. THE FORECAST IS
CONSISTENT WITH CONSENSUS THROUGH TAU 48, BUT IS FASTER IN THE ALONG-TRACK
DIRECTION FROM TAU 48 ONWARD.
C. THE STORM SHOULD COMPLETE ET BY TAU 72 IN THE VICINITY OF THE
KANTO PLAIN AS IT ACCELERATES IN THE MIDLATITUDE WESTERLIES. WHILE UNDER
GOING ET, THE SYSTEM INTENSITY WILL WEAKEN DUE TO INCREASING VERTICAL
WIND SHEAR AND LAND INTERACTION. DESPITE THIS FACT, THE STORM WILL STILL
PRODUCE WINDS OVER 60 KTS AS AN EXTRATROPICAL SYSTEM.
FORECAST TEAM: CHARLIE//
Member Since: July 3, 2005 Posts: 421 Comments: 127559
942. NormalGuy
3:33 PM GMT on July 12, 2007
NiceVille, I can believe that about the keg being minor. Funny how when you send 18-25 year old guys out alone with a Govt. Visa, they seem to lose some control. Now back to your earlier statement, when in Iraq, it was easy 120+ every day. We were in full cammie's and MOPP gear on top of that. Not comfortable, but it was a DRY heat.. LOL
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940. StormJunkie
3:39 PM GMT on July 12, 2007
Afternoon all.

rm-You can find most of the graphical model pages from the Quick Links page.

Hey K8, good to see ya, hope all is well.

Thanks hcubed, good info ☺
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939. Hellsniper223
3:41 PM GMT on July 12, 2007
lol Kmanislander, Ya hit the nail on the head.
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938. Patrap
10:40 AM CDT on July 12, 2007
Man-yi 3 Hour Position Update Graphic Valid 12/0900Z

Link
Member Since: July 3, 2005 Posts: 421 Comments: 127559

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Jeff co-founded the Weather Underground in 1995 while working on his Ph.D. He flew with the NOAA Hurricane Hunters from 1986-1990.

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