Bob Simpson autobiography now available from the American Meteorological Society


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In 1951, Robert (Bob) Simpson rode a plane directly into the eyewall of a typhoon—just one of his many pioneering exploits. Bob and his wife Joanne are meteorological icons, particularly among tropical meteorologists: Bob was the first director of the National Hurricane Research Project (1955–1959), and a director of the National Hurricane Center (1967–1974). Along with Herbert Saffir, Bob was the creator of the widely used Saffir–Simpson Hurricane Scale; today, the public knows well his Categories 1–5. He is an Honorary Member of the American Meteorological Society, the highest honor that is bestowed by the Society.

Bob’s memoirs feature:

  • His adventurous boyhood in Texas
  • The story of being one of the first scientist to fly directly into a hurricane
  • His travels to international centers of meteorological study right as the science was burgeoning

Proceeds from this book help support the American Meteorological Society’s K. Vic Ooyama Scholarship Fund.

The book, co-authored by Neal Dorst, can be found at http://bookstore.ametsoc.org/catalog/book/hurricane-pioneer.

HRD Monthly Science Meeting of March 2015

March’s science meeting consisted of 4 presentations:

  1. Thiago Quirino: Next-generation, Multi-Scale Tropical Prediction System: Transitioning HWRF to the NEMS Framework under NOAA HIWPP
  2. Xuejin Zhang: Basin-scale HWRF Verification
  3. Sim Aberson: Hurricane Felix 070902H
  4. Robert Rogers: Role of deep vs. shallow convection in RI onset

All the presentations and posters are available on the anonymous ftp site at:

ftp://ftp.aoml.noaa.gov/hrd/pub/blog/meetings/2015/science/HRD_SciMeet_20150312.zip

HRD Monthly Science Meeting of February 2015

February’s science meeting consisted of 3 presentations:

  1. Ghassan (Gus) Alaka: Track Errors in the Basin-Scale HWRF Model
  2. Steve Diaz: Basin-Scale NMMB Scalability Assessment
  3. Kelly Ryan: Estimating Tropical Cyclone Intensity using the Deviation Angle Variance Technique

All the presentations and posters are available on the anonymous ftp site at:

ftp://ftp.aoml.noaa.gov/hrd/pub/blog/meetings/2015/science/HRD_SciMeet_20150212.zip

Paper on the rapid intensification of Hurricane Earl in 2010 published in Monthly Weather Review

The paper discusses changes to the structure of Hurricane Earl (2010) as it rapidly intensified.   It found

  • Earl tilted with height before it intensified, but was upright during the intensification.
  • Strong thunderstorms played a significant role in the rapid intensification of Hurricane Earl.
  • Thunderstorms located on the inside of the eyewall are a condition favorable for intensification.
  • It is important to learn why thunderstorms form where they do to improve forecasts.
  • It is also important to observe the structure of the hurricane to better represent where these thunderstorms may occur in forecast models and improve hurricane forecasts.

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The paper can be accessed at http://journals.ametsoc.org/doi/abs/10.1175/MWR-D-14-00175.1.

Paper on the rapid intensification of Hurricane Earl published in the Journal of the Atmospheric Sciences

Hurricanes sometimes change intensity very quickly, and if this happens when they approach land, it can suddenly cause a lot of damage or kill many people. This so-called Rapid Intensification (RI) is very hard to forecast. For the first time, the Hurricane Weather Research and Forecast (HWRF) model that NOAA uses to forecast where a hurricane will go and how strong it will be, was used to help understand RI. During RI, the HWRF forecasts matched information from aircraft in hurricanes.Screen Shot 2015-02-17 at 12.28.19 PM

Important conclusions:

 

  • Sometimes, the position of the hurricane eye changes with height. It was thought that this change needed to disappear before RI began, but, in this case, it does not disappear until a few hours after RI begins.
  • Hurricane eyes are warm in the middle and upper parts of the atmosphere, and the amount of warmth is tied to intensity. The eyewall is the ring of strong thunderstorms surrounding the eye that fuel the hurricane winds. When the thunderstorms get especially strong in a special part of the eyewall, they can help to transfer more warm air into the eye and lead to further intensification.

The paper can be accessed at http://journals.ametsoc.org/doi/abs/10.1175/JAS-D-14-0097.1.

Paper on using aircraft data in hurricane models to improve forecasts published in Monthly Weather Review

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NOAA and U. S. Air Force aircraft have been gathering wind, temperature, humidity and pressure information inside hurricanes for more than 30 years. The NOAA aircraft have been fitted with Doppler radars that can see the entire hurricane’s rain and wind from near the ground to the top of the clouds. All the information is sent from the aircraft to the National Hurricane Center so they can see what the hurricane looks like. However, until now, we have not yet had the computer power to get the information into the models that are used to forecast where the hurricane will go and how strong the wind and rain will be. This study marks the first time that this information has been used in NOAA’s Hurricane Weather Research and Forecast (HWRF) model. It shows that there is hope for making better forecasts using the information from flights into hurricanes.

Important conclusions:

  1. Forecasts of where the hurricane will go using the information from the aircraft are about 10% better than those that do not use it.

  2. Forecasts of the fastest wind speed in the hurricane using the aircraft data are up to 23% better than those that do not use it.

  3. Forecasts of the winds surrounding the hurricane center are also better when they use the information from the flights.

HRD Monthly Science Meeting of January 2015

January’s Science meeting consisted of 7 of the 9 presentations made by AOML/HRD researchers at the 95th AMS Annual Meeting held in Phoenix, AZ from 4-8 January 2015:

  1. Bachir Annane (from a poster):  Impact of CYGNSS Data on Hurricane Analyses and Forecasts in a Regional OSSE Framework
  2. Javier Delgado: Improving the Performance of the Basin Scale HWRF System
  3. Xuejin Zhang: Targeting on the Research to Operational Transition with the Basin-scale HWRF Modeling System
  4. Xuejin Zhang (for Gopal): A Global to Local-Scale Hurricane Forecasting System
  5. Lisa Bucci (from a poster): OSSE Evaluation of a Hyperspectral Sounder and its Potential Impact on Hurricane Prediction
  6. John Gamache: Real-time Airborne Radar Data Quality Control and transmission from NOAA Aircraft for assimilation into HWRF
  7. Frank Marks: NOAA’s Hurricane Forecast Improvement Project – HFIP

Two other presentations from the conference were:

  1. Jason Dunion (for Mike Black): Tropical Cyclone Research Utilizing the Global Hawk Unmanned Aircraft
  2. Robert Atlas: Observing System Simulation Experiments to Assess the Potential Impact of Proposed Observing Systems on Hurricane Prediction

The two posters presented were:

  1. Bachir Annane:  Impact of CYGNSS Data on Hurricane Analyses and Forecasts in a Regional OSSE Framework
  2. Lisa Bucci: OSSE Evaluation of a Hyperspectral Sounder and its Potential Impact on Hurricane Prediction

All the presentations and posters are available on the anonymous ftp site at: ftp://ftp.aoml.noaa.gov/hrd/pub/blog/meetings/2015/science/HRD_SciMeet_20150115.zip