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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888. Patrap
9:26 AM CDT on July 12, 2007
West-PAc Full Disk IR..Man-yi

Link

Member Since: July 3, 2005 Posts: 424 Comments: 128344
887. IKE
9:25 AM CDT on July 12, 2007
I'm going out on a limb. Call me an idiot if you want...I think that will be an invest...
Member Since: June 9, 2005 Posts: 23 Comments: 37858
886. Drakoen
2:24 PM GMT on July 12, 2007



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885. Drakoen
2:22 PM GMT on July 12, 2007
Member Since: October 28, 2006 Posts: 57 Comments: 30494
884. Patrap
9:23 AM CDT on July 12, 2007
The Southeast and east facing Pacific side of Okinowa has the brunt to deal with ..The storm begins now for them. Its all downhill from here. Good luck to the Islanders and all the U.S. Military in Harms way.

Link
Member Since: July 3, 2005 Posts: 424 Comments: 128344
883. IKE
9:21 AM CDT on July 12, 2007
Drakoen...that satellite picture is about 2 hours old...it looks better now.
Member Since: June 9, 2005 Posts: 23 Comments: 37858
882. catastropheadjuster
2:17 PM GMT on July 12, 2007
Thanks Ike & Drakoen. From what i am reading it looks like it might be a bad season. I was wondering about it cause some people on here where saying we might see another 2006 and others said it's might be like 2004. I am mainly just a lurker. But i do appreciate you all answering my question. I am gonna go back to reading the blog. Hope everyone has a nice day. It's already boiling here in Satsuma,Al.
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881. weathers4me
2:20 PM GMT on July 12, 2007
Where is this CATL wave located? Sorry for the dumb question.
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880. Drakoen
2:20 PM GMT on July 12, 2007
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879. hurricane23
10:19 AM EDT on July 12, 2007
The lastest track brings it into magoshima with about 60-70kt winds.

Member Since: May 14, 2006 Posts: 8 Comments: 13793
878. Drakoen
2:17 PM GMT on July 12, 2007
Man-yi was much more impressive yesterday.
Member Since: October 28, 2006 Posts: 57 Comments: 30494
877. Patrap
9:16 AM CDT on July 12, 2007
Naha, Okinawa Obs 15 min ago

Humidity: 89%
Dew Point: 77 F / 25 C
Wind: 25 mph / 41 km/h / 11.3 m/s from the ENE
Wind Gust: 45 mph / 72 km/h / 20.1 m/s
Pressure: 29.12 in / 986 hPa (Steady)
Heat Index: 87 F / 31 C
Visibility: 3.7 miles / 6.0 kilometers
UV: 0 out of 16
Clouds: Few 600 ft / 182 m
Scattered Clouds 1500 ft / 457 m
Mostly Cloudy 2000 ft / 609 m
(Above Ground Level)

Member Since: July 3, 2005 Posts: 424 Comments: 128344
876. Drakoen
2:14 PM GMT on July 12, 2007
we will have to see what the 12z runs do with the wave.
Member Since: October 28, 2006 Posts: 57 Comments: 30494
875. IKE
9:13 AM CDT on July 12, 2007
Posted By: stoormfury at 9:13 AM CDT on July 12, 2007.
IKE

That CATL seems to be trying to get it's act together. thereis a LLC near 8N 40W which has expanded in the last hour. this system is in an area of low wind shear and adequate moisture. it bears watching.


I agree.
Member Since: June 9, 2005 Posts: 23 Comments: 37858
874. IKE
9:12 AM CDT on July 12, 2007
Man-yi is about 170 miles due south of Okinawa based on the 12 GMT coordinates.

Their fixin to get hammered.
Member Since: June 9, 2005 Posts: 23 Comments: 37858
873. stoormfury
2:06 PM GMT on July 12, 2007
IKE

That CATL wave seems to be trying to get it's act together. thereis a LLC near 8N 40W which has expanded in the last hour. this system is in an area of low wind shear and adequate moisture. it bears watching.
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872. IKE
9:11 AM CDT on July 12, 2007
Posted By: catastropheadjuster at 9:11 AM CDT on July 12, 2007.
Nash if the BH is further west is that good or bad for Fla and the Gulf Coast? I live in Alabama and I was just wondering. Thanks,Sheri


Could be bad..
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871. Drakoen
2:11 PM GMT on July 12, 2007
thats bad for Florida and the Gulf Coast.
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870. catastropheadjuster
2:02 PM GMT on July 12, 2007
Nash if the BH is further west is that good or bad for Fla and the Gulf Coast? I live in Alabama and I was just wondering. Thanks,Sheri
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869. Patrap
9:08 AM CDT on July 12, 2007
First outer rain band now arriving..
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867. Patrap
9:08 AM CDT on July 12, 2007
Winds 25mph sustained ,gust to 45mph Naha , Okinowa wu-page

Link
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866. IKE
9:07 AM CDT on July 12, 2007
That wave has shear of 5-10...thru 10N, to 50 west.
Member Since: June 9, 2005 Posts: 23 Comments: 37858
865. Drakoen
2:06 PM GMT on July 12, 2007
Posted By: MichaelSTL at 2:04 PM GMT on July 12, 2007.

Posted By: Drakoen at 8:59 AM CDT on July 12, 2007.

Micheal a 1008mb low lol. I guess we have to wait and see.

Uh, please look at this link...


ah ok. I still need more model agreement though.
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864. guygee
2:02 PM GMT on July 12, 2007
I am guessing that GEM model latched on to that MCS that slid off the NC coast a couple of days ago. It has stalled and convection has been fairly persistent. I was wondering if the Atlantic high might drag it SW, but it looks to me it will be mostly sheared NE by the trough, with only some welcome higher PWs over Florida catching the SW ride.
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863. IKE
9:05 AM CDT on July 12, 2007
I remember you telling me that last hurricane season..STL.

That wave doesn't look bad at all.
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862. Drakoen
2:04 PM GMT on July 12, 2007
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861. PensacolaNative
2:03 PM GMT on July 12, 2007
Thanks nash28.....Doesn't sound good for the GOM.........
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859. hurricane23
10:03 AM EDT on July 12, 2007
Iam seeing a 1008mb low on the GEM that is rather weak.
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858. IKE
9:00 AM CDT on July 12, 2007
The 240 hour forecast is ugly and the overall track looks very familar... first South Florida, then the central Gulf Coast...

UGH!
Member Since: June 9, 2005 Posts: 23 Comments: 37858
857. Drakoen
2:01 PM GMT on July 12, 2007
Posted By: IKE at 2:00 PM GMT on July 12, 2007.

GEM GLOBAL
STILL INSISTS ON BRINGING HURRICANE INTO SRN FL AT THE END OF THE
PD...A SOLUTION REJECTED AS AN OUTLIER DESPITE THE MODELS
CONSISTENCY WITH THIS SYSTEM.

This system in the Atlantic?


Possibly. It may be the wave that we are watching. I need more model agreement before i buy into that.
Member Since: October 28, 2006 Posts: 57 Comments: 30494
856. nash28
2:01 PM GMT on July 12, 2007
Guys, the A/B High is always fluctuating, but it appears it will be much further to the west than it was last year.
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855. PensacolaNative
1:55 PM GMT on July 12, 2007
Patrap
Do you feel the BH is going to set up like 2004 or will the east coast be more prone to the storms?
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854. IKE
8:58 AM CDT on July 12, 2007
GEM GLOBAL
STILL INSISTS ON BRINGING HURRICANE INTO SRN FL AT THE END OF THE
PD...A SOLUTION REJECTED AS AN OUTLIER DESPITE THE MODELS
CONSISTENCY WITH THIS SYSTEM.


This system in the Atlantic?
Member Since: June 9, 2005 Posts: 23 Comments: 37858
853. Drakoen
1:58 PM GMT on July 12, 2007
Micheal a 1008mb low lol. I guess we have to wait and see.
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852. Tazmanian
6:57 AM PDT on July 12, 2007
STL can you drop that map you this post on my blog thanks
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851. nash28
1:58 PM GMT on July 12, 2007
Hey 23. How goes it today? Busy at work myself, so I will be off and on...
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850. philliesrock
9:57 AM EDT on July 12, 2007
Michael could I have the link to where you got that?
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849. TheCaneWhisperer
9:55 AM EDT on July 12, 2007
Adrian. That link to the ENSO Outlook says July 7th, not the 12th.
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848. hurricane23
9:56 AM EDT on July 12, 2007
Hey nash28!
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846. Drakoen
1:53 PM GMT on July 12, 2007
Hello everyone. I just read Anitcyclones post. Can you please post a link to that information?
Member Since: October 28, 2006 Posts: 57 Comments: 30494
845. TheCaneWhisperer
9:52 AM EDT on July 12, 2007
The GEM is a restricted model on all my sites Pcola! Not sure if someone else has a link.
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844. guygee
1:48 PM GMT on July 12, 2007
MichaelSTL - Thanks for posting that forecast, I just caught it on my way out after posting my "manifesto", LOL.

As of June 21 NCEP was a lot less bullish on a strong La Nina:
Link

PROGNOSTIC DISCUSSION FOR LONG-LEAD SEASONAL OUTLOOKS
NWS CLIMATE PREDICTION CENTER CAMP SPRINGS MD
830 AM EDT THU JUN 21 2007
[...]
EARLY IN THE YEAR A RAPID DECREASE IN NINO 3.4 SST ANOMALIES... THE DEVELOPMENT
OF BELOW NORMAL SSTS NEAR THE EQUATOR ALONG THE SOUTH AMERICAN COAST... AND
DYNAMICAL MODEL PREDICTIONS OF PACIFIC SSTS RAISED CONCERNS ABOUT A TRANSITION
TO LA NINA CONDITIONS BY MID 2007. HOWEVER... BELOW NORMAL SSTS HAVE NOT
DEVELOPED IN THE CENTRAL PACIFIC... AND SUB-SURFACE OCEAN TEMPERATURES IN THE
CENTRAL PACIFIC HAVE RECENTLY BECOME SLIGHTLY ABOVE NORMAL. THESE INDICATORS
MAKE A TRANSITION TO LA NINA CONDITIONS MUCH LESS LIKELY IN THE NEXT FEW MONTH
THAN HAD APPEARED EARLIER IN THE YEAR. MOST DYNAMIC MODELS CONTINUE TO PREDICT
A TRANSITION TO LA NINA CONDITIONS BY LATE SUMMER... ALTHOUGH STATISTICAL
MODELS PREDICT THAT CENTRAL PACIFIC SSTS WILL DRIFT ONLY SLIGHTLY DOWNWARD...
INDICATING NEUTRAL ENSO OR ONLY VERY WEAK LA NINA CONDITIONS. THUS... AT THIS
TIME NEUTRAL ENSO CONDITIONS ARE ANTICIPATED THROUGH JAS WITH THE DEVELOPMENT
OF LA NINA CONDITIONS POSSIBLE LATER IN THE FALL... ALTHOUGH AT THIS TIME IT
APPEARS THAT LA NINA CONDITIONS WILL BE WEAK. THUS ENSO HAS A LIMITED IMPACT
ON THIS SERIES OF FORECASTS.
[...]

Conflicting model predictions...should be interesting to see how it pans out.
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843. nash28
1:54 PM GMT on July 12, 2007
It depends on where the stystems form Taz.
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842. Tazmanian
6:53 AM PDT on July 12, 2007
evere thing is seting up like it was in 2004 takeing evere hurricane we get right in too FL or the gulf coast
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841. Tazmanian
6:51 AM PDT on July 12, 2007
hello STL cant stay march longer this want to say hello
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840. PensacolaDoug
1:45 PM GMT on July 12, 2007
Anyone got a link to the GEM?
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838. guygee
1:26 PM GMT on July 12, 2007
I want to thank Dr. Master's for covering recent events at NHC that lead to a change in leadership there. Obviously there was a large disagreement on how OUR limited tax dollars should be used to fund projects that support tropical cyclone-related forecasting and research. It is apparent that Bill Proenza crossed the line from science to zealotry in his support of a QuikSCAT replacement, while the majority of experienced NHC forecasters disagreed based on their own interpretation of the well-documented data.

As taxpayers and citizens we should demand that our tax dollars be spent in the most effective and efficient way to maintain and improve hurricane forecasting. I for one am glad that Dr. Masters keeps us informed on these matters, as they are very relevant to the stated purpose of his blog. My own view is that the people here who have criticized Dr. Masters for covering these events are really the ones who are using this blog for their own political purposes.
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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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