NPOESS Applications to Tropical Cyclone
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NPOESS Applications to Tropical Cyclone Analysis and Forecasting*. Mark DeMaria, NOAA/NESDIS, Fort Collins, CO. Presented at the COMET NPOESS Workshop Boulder, Colorado May 4, 2006 *Funding from NPOESS Intergovernmental Studies (IGS) Program. Outline. VIIRS imagery analysis

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NPOESS Applications to Tropical Cyclone Analysis and Forecasting*

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NPOESS Applications to Tropical Cyclone

Analysis and Forecasting*

Mark DeMaria, NOAA/NESDIS, Fort Collins, CO

Presented at the COMET NPOESS Workshop

Boulder, Colorado

May 4, 2006

*Funding from NPOESS Intergovernmental Studies (IGS) Program


  • VIIRS imagery analysis

    • Proxy data from MODIS, AVHRR

  • Tropical cyclone soundings from CrIS/ATMS

    • Proxy data from AIRS/AMSU and numerical simulations

  • Subsurface ocean structure from altimeter data

    • Proxy altimeter data from Jason, GFO

  • Ocean surface winds from CMIS

    • Proxy CMIS data from Windsat

Tropical Cyclone Time Scales

  • < 1 hour - individual cumulus clouds

  • 6-12 hour – eyewall circulation

  • 12-24 hour – synoptic scale steering flow

  • 24-48 hour – TC ocean response

  • 1-30 days – mesoscale ocean eddies

  • ½ year – seasonal cycle

  • Years to decades – hurricane climate variations

  • NPOESS data is appropriate for all except cloud scale

VIIRS applications

  • Intensity estimation of primary circulation

    • Modified “Dvorak” technique to utilize enhanced horizontal resolution

  • Eye and eyewall feature analysis

  • Use proxy data to compare GOES and VIIRS resolution

Hurricane Wilma 2005 Near Peak Intensity

MODIS 1 km IR Window Channel Degraded to GOES 4 km resolution

Hurricane Wilma 2005 Before Yucatan Landfall

MODIS 1 km IR Window Channel Degraded to GOES 4 km resolution

Library of VIIRS Proxy Data

  • Web site being created at CIRA

  • All Dvorak scene types included

    • curved band, CDO, shear, eye

  • Vis and IR proxy from AVHRR and MODIS

  • Quantitative statistics on impact of resolution on cold ring, eye temperature

Tropical Cyclone Soundings from ATMS/CrIS

  • Temperature/moisture soundings in storm environment for track prediction

  • Hurricane eye soundings for intensity monitoring

  • Balanced wind retrievals for storm structure analysis

  • Proxy data from AIRS/AMSU and numerical model analysis

Storm Environment Soundings

  • Obtain AIRS/AMSU soundings in storm environments from AIRS science team retrivals

  • Compare to in situ data from NOAA Gulfstream jet

  • Do the retrievals provide “value-added” information relative to NCEP analyses?

    • Hurricane Lili 2002 case study

Co-located AIRS Retrievals and NOAA Jet

GPS Dropsondes for Hurricane Lili 2002

Soundings from AIRS, Eta Model Analysis, and NOAA Jet in Lili Environment

Comparison of AIRS and NCEP Eta Model Analysis Temperature Errors for Hurricane Lili(with GPS dropsonde ground truth)

  • AIRS/AMSU provides consider value-added except where cloud contaminated

  • CrIS/ATMS should be even better due to improved spatial resolution

Hurricane Eye Soundings

  • Obtain AIRS/AMSU retrievals in storm eyes

  • Integrate hydrostatic equation from 100 mb to the surface

    • NCEP analysis boundary condition at 100 mb

  • Compare estimated sea level pressure to in situ data

  • 6 cases analyzed so far

    • 2 from Lili 2002 (small eye)

    • 4 from Isabel 2003 (large eye)

Cases with AIRS/AMSU Eye Soundings

Lili 2002 Isabel 2003

Temperature AnomaliesFrom AIRS/AMSU Soundings



Minimum Pressure From AIRS/AMSU Sounding Integration

Proxy NPOESS Data from Numerical Simulations

  • CrIS will have improved horizontal resolution compared to AIRS

  • ATMS will have improved horizontal resolution compared to AMSU

  • No real data currently available for true NPOESS proxy

  • Alternate Solution:

    • Synthetic data from numerical/radiative transfer

Numerical Proxy Data System

  • RAMS Cloud Model

    • Non-hydrostatic cloud-scale model

    • Nested grids

      • 50 km, 10 km, 2 km, 400 m for hurricanes

    • Sophisticated cloud microphysics

    • Land surface and boundary layer physics

  • Model output is input to radiative transfer code for synthetic satellite data

Radiative Transfer Code

  • OPTRAN code used to calculate gaseous transmittances

  • Modified anomalous diffraction theory (MADT) for cloud optical properties

    • assumes gamma distribution N(D) = N0Dυe-λD for the calculated mean diameter: Dmean = F(rc,nc).

    • single scatter albedo, extinction coefficient, asymmetry factor for 7 hydrometeor types

    • weighting by hydrometeor number concentration from RAMS for bulk optical properties

  • Delta-Eddington formulation for IR bands

  • Spherical Harmonics Discrete Ordinate Method (SHDOM) for Vis and Near IR bands

    • Plane parallel version (1-D) of SHDOM from CU (F. Evans)

Synthetic IR Imagery for Hurricane Lili Simulation

Synthetic Imagery/Data for NPOESS Testing

Vertical Cross-Section of

Hurricane Lili Temperature

Anomaly with typical AMSU

and ATMS retrievals.

Quantitative analysis of

resolution impact under way

SST Influence on Tropical Cyclones

  • Palmen (1948)

    • SST 26oC is needed for TC formation

  • Miller (1958), Emanuel (1988)

    • SST provides upper bound on intensity

      • Maximum Potential Intensity

  • Giesler (1970)

    • barotropic/baroclinic response, hurricane “wake”

    • VIIRS, CMIS, CrIS for SST algorithms

    • Altimeter for sub-surface ocean structure

Composite AVHRR

SST from Hurricane

Isabel 2003. Note the

cold wake from hurricane


(From Johns Hopkins University Ocean Remote Sensing Group web page)

Satellite Altimetry

  • Ocean altimetry provides routine measures of upper ocean heat content

    • Topex/Poseiden, GFO, Jason, Envisat …NPOESS

  • Integrated heat excess from depth of 26oC isotherm to the surface

  • NHC uses GFO/Jason product for operational forecasting

Hurricane Katrina Intensity and SST and

NHC Ocean Heat Content Analysis


Impact on NHC Operational Statistical Model Forecasts for Category 5 Storms

  • Isabel (03), Ivan (04), Katrina, Rita, Wilma (05)

  • Verify only over-water part of forecast

Storm Structure Analysis

  • Large variability in outer circulation size

  • JTWC interest in 50 kt wind radii for ship routing

  • NHC interest in 34 kt radii for evacuation planning, 64 kt winds for hurricane warnings

  • NPOESS wind radii methods:

    • Ocean surface winds from CMIS

    • ATMS/CrIS balance winds

Florida Landfalls

Charley 2004 and Wilma 2005

ATMS/CrIS Balance Winds

  • Integrate T, RH soundings to get pressure field

  • Using nonlinear balance equation to get winds

  • Algorithm testing with AIRS/AMSU proxy data

AMSU nonlinear balance winds

for Hurricane Ivan (2004)

CMIS Ocean Surface Winds

  • Windsat data is proxy

  • Valid for wind structure, not inner core

  • Can be combined with nonlinear balance winds, other satellite winds

Windsat Retrieval for Hurricane

Fabian (2003) from NESDIS Alogrithm

(from Zorana Jelenak)


  • NPOESS holds great promise for hurricane analysis and forecasting

  • Temporal resolution is good match for most processes

  • VIIRS, ATMS/CrIS, CMIS and altimeter all useful

  • Track forecasting, intensity and structure monitoring

  • Assimilation in numerical forecast models

  • NPOESS TC proxy data/algorithm development web site under development at CIRA

    • IGS project

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