Paper on improvements to the Hurricane Weather Research and Forecast Model published in Weather and Forecasting

Summary: This paper describes improvements that were made to the Hurricane Weather Research and Forecasting model (HWRF). The key change for the 2012 version was a large increase in the number of points used to define a hurricane in the model. HWRF thus became the first model used by the National Hurricane Center (NHC) that captures small-scale details such as thunderstorms. This version had much smaller errors predicting where a hurricane will go; however, it showed only a modest reduction in the errors of predicting the intensity of a hurricane. As a result of this disappointing improvement to forecasts of intensity, a deficiency in the model was found and corrected in the 2013 version leading to large reductions in intensity forecast errors and additional improvements in forecasts of the hurricane path. It is expected that future improvements will lead to further reductions in forecast errors.

Important Conclusions:

  • Improvements to HWRF, especially the increase in number of points used to define hurricanes in the model, greatly reduce the errors in forecasts of the path and intensity of hurricanes.
  • HWRF can predict the path and intensity of hurricanes as well as the models that NHC previously relied on for the best information.

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The paper can be accessed at http://journals.ametsoc.org/doi/pdf/10.1175/WAF-D-14-00098.1.