Paper on getting surface wind speeds in tropical cyclones from polar-orbiting satellites published in IEEE Transactions on Geoscience and Remote Sensing

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The full article can be found at http://ieeexplore.ieee.org/xpl/articleDetails.jsp?arnumber=7452597.

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Two-part paper on the intensification of Hurricane Edouard released online in Monthly Weather Review

Summary: Hurricane Edouard (2014) is examined using radar onboard NOAA P-3 aircraft that flew the storm. Two periods are shown, one when the storm was intensifying to a major hurricane and the other when the storm was weakening. The location of strong thunderstorms, and how they changed over time, is examined to see if there is a difference over time and to determine what caused those differences.

Important Conclusions: (two – three)

  1. Strong thunderstorms that extend above 50,000 ft altitude are seen when Edouard was intensifying; when Edouard was weakening, no such thunderstorms are seen.
  2. When Edouard is intensifying, thunderstorms cover a large area and are located close to and inside where the strongest winds exist.
  3. More thunderstorms occur when the wind in the lowest few thousand feet flowing toward the central low pressure reaches past the eyewall where the strongest winds exist. Because this air flows inward from all directions, it must rise in the eyewall, and thunderstorms develop. These strength and longevity of these thunderstorms depends on the warmth of the ocean below the storm and the moisture in the air around it.

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You can access Part I at http://journals.ametsoc.org/doi/abs/10.1175/MWR-D-16-0018.1 and Part II at http://journals.ametsoc.org/doi/abs/10.1175/MWR-D-16-0018.1.

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40th Anniversary of inaugural hurricane flight for NOAA 42

Flight track of N42RF on June 27, 1976

Flight track of N42RF on June 27, 1976 (breaks in track due to data fallouts)

On August 27, 1976, NOAA’s new Orion P-3 research aircraft (NOAA 42) took off from Acapulco, Mexico and flew a mission into Hurricane Bonny.  This was the first flight into a hurricane for this plane that had been acquired by the US Dept. of Commerce the previous year to replace the old DC-6 research planes used since 1960 to gather in situ weather data.  Hurricane Camille in 1969 and the cloud physics requirements of Project STORMFURY had both been spurs for NOAA to improve its aircraft fleet and the process of transitioning to the new airframes began in 1973 and culminated in 1977 when the companion P-3 (NOAA 43) began service.

NOAA's P-3 and C-130 aircraft in flight

NOAA’s P-3 and C-130 aircraft in flight

At the time of the flight, Hurricane Bonny was a minimal hurricane, with winds just over 74 mph (120 km/hr) and a central pressure of 987 mb.  The aircraft, along with NOAA’s C-130, caught up with Bonny as the storm passed south of Mexico’s Soccoro Island.  The aircraft spent six hours reconnoitering the system before returning to Acapulco.  The planes returned to Miami the next day, since Bonny had moved out of range.  Not much use was made of the data collected, but the flight proved to be an excellent “shake down” mission, testing the new radars and avionics and getting the crews used to their new vehicle.

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HRD and CIMAS Researcher recognized by NOAA Aircraft Operations Center

Sonia Otero, a CIMAS Senior Research Associate working at HRD was recognized by AOC for her software engineering leadership during the development of the Airborne Atmospheric Measurement and Profiling System (AAMPS), the principal aircraft data system used on the NOAA G-IV and WP-3D aircraft, from 2007-2016.

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HRD observation team monthly meeting – 16 June 2016

The purpose of the observation team meetings is to bring together the people who use observations in their research on a regular basis to discuss issues they’re having, provide updates on observations they’re analyzing or collecting, and any other information that may be of interest to the broader group.  These meetings are also an excellent opportunity to integrate all of the many uses of observations in HRD’s capacity to improve the understanding and prediction of tropical cyclones.

Agenda for June 2016:

  1. Update on field program
  2. Status and research updates:
  • Jun Zhang: “Observations of sea-surface temperature in hurricanes from GPS dropsondes”
  • Sim Aberson: “Dropsonde dry bias at low altitudes”
  • Sim Aberson, Part Deux: “In what type of TCs are the most intense flight level (P-3) updrafts?”

The presentation from the meeting is available on the anonymous ftp site:

ftp://ftp.aoml.noaa.gov/pub/hrd/blog/meetings/2016/Observations/ObsTeam-Jun2016.zip

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225th Anniversary of the Western Cuba hurricane

Map of Havana and harbor

Map of Havana, rivers, and harbor

On June 21, 1791, a devastating hurricane struck the western tip of Cuba.  Torrential rains cause the rivers in Havana to overflow.  Flooding was noted all the way to El Cerro.  Nearly 3000 people were reported drowned.

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50th Anniversary of Hurricane Alma

Hurricane Alma on June 12, 1966 as it ran up the Eastern Seaboard

Hurricane Alma on June 12, 1966 east of Cape Hatteras

On June 9, 1966, Hurricane Alma struck the Florida panhandle, making it the earliest hurricane landfall on the continental United States since 1825.

Alma began as a tropical depression forming over Nicaragua on June 4th from an upper-level trough building down to the surface.  It began to move northward, over Honduras and into the western Caribbean Sea.  As it tracked slowly to the NNW it rapidly gained strength over the warm waters.  By the time it passed over the Isle of Pines its winds reached 100 mph (160 km/hr).  Alma actually gained strength as it passed over the western tip of Cuba.  By the time it passed between Key West and the Dry Tortugas, its maximum winds had reached peak values of 125 mph (200 km/hr).

Track of Alma 1966 (Unisys)

Track of Alma 1966 (Unisys)

As the hurricane gained forward speed it swerved away from the southwestern Florida coast.  Its winds diminished to 90 mph (140 km/hr) by the time it made landfall near Apalachee Bay in the Florida panhandle on the afternoon of June 9th.  This was the earliest a hurricane had struck the mainland United States in over 140 years.

Shortly after landfall, Alma slowed and turned northeastward as it weakened into a tropical storm.  It moved slowly off the coast of Georgia and South Carolina, but once it was far enough out to sea, it regained hurricane strength and its eye reformed.  While east of the Outer Banks, the storm turned northward and approached New England and became more disorganized.  Alma eventually dissipated as an extratropical low over Massachusetts,

During its course, Alma killed over 90 people and caused some US$210 million in damage.  Most of the deaths were due to flash floods in Honduras during its formative stage.  Although it bypassed the Florida peninsula, Alma brought heavy rain and high winds to both the Miami and Tampa areas.

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HRD and CIMAS researcher provides an overview of data assimilation activities at HRD

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Dr. Altug Aksoy made a presentation on “An Overview of the Tropical Cyclone Data Assimilation Activities  at NOAA’s Hurricane Research Division” at the 7th EnKF Data Assimilation Workshop, State College, PA from 23-27 May 2016. Dr. Aksoy’s presentation is available on the ftp site at:

ftp://ftp.aoml.noaa.gov/pub/hrd/blog/seminars/2016/aksoy_enkf_workshop_may2016.pdf

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HRD Seminar – Dr. Yoshiaki Miyamoto, UM/Rosenstiel School of Marine and Atmospheric Science – 8 June 2016

Dr. Miyamoto presented a seminar on “A transition mechanism for rapid  intensification of tropical cyclones”.

ABSTRACT: 

Most of strong tropical cyclones (TCs) experience a rapidly intensifying phase (Rapid Intensification: RI) during their lifetimes. Deep understanding of RI is essentially important for accurate prediction of TC intensity. Recently researchers pay increasing attention to RI and a number of studies have been conducted to reveal the structure and intensity change during the RI phase. The observational and numerical studies have shown that the cloud field has TC-like distribution, i.e., the presence of eye and eyewall, in the RI phase, suggesting that the flow structure is well axisymmetric.

This study mainly focuses on preprocesses of RI, which may possibly be important for RI prediction. We propose a transition mechanism from a slowly intensifying phase to the RI phase based on the idealized numerical simulations (shear-free cases) using a three dimensional full physics model. The mechanism emphasizes that a TC vortex needs to be well axisymmetric before RI starts and the RI initiates by the formation of eyewall that is defined as a region with large axisymmetric component of diabatic heating around the radius of maximum wind (RMW). This talk will introduce you the detail of proposed mechanism and the verifications based on the results of two papers published in Journal of the Atmospheric Sciences.

A recording of the presentation is available on the anonymous ftp site:

ftp://ftp.aoml.noaa.gov/pub/hrd/blog/seminars/2016/Miyamoto_HRD_Seminar_20160608.mp4

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HRD Seminar – Prof. U. C. Mohanty, Indian Institute of Technology, Bhubaneswar, Odisha, India – 7 June 2016

Prof. Mohanty presented a seminar on “Recent Developments in Prediction of Tropical Cyclones over North Indian Ocean”.

A recording of the presentation is available on the anonymous ftp site:

ftp://ftp.aoml.noaa.gov/pub/hrd/blog/seminars/2016/Mohanty_HRD_Seminar_20160607.mp4

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