Highlights from the 2014 hurricane season

The Atlantic hurricane season will officially end November 30, and will be remembered as a relatively quiet season as was predicted.  Still, the season afforded NOAA scientists with opportunities to produce new forecast products, showcase successful modeling advancements, and conduct research to benefit future forecasts.

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Despite the quiet Atlantic season, NOAA, and especially HRD, had an extremely productive research year.  With the NOAA Aircraft Operations Center, they conducted 34 P3 and 15 G-IV missions in the Atlantic, East Pacific and Central Pacific Oceans.  The data collected in Hurricanes Arthur, Bertha, and Cristobal will be useful in better understanding the problem of hurricane intensification in storms that are undergoing shear, something previously thought to be relatively uncommon.  Extensive oceanographic data were collected in Hurricanes Edouard and Ana that will help us to understand how the ocean fuels hurricanes and how the hurricane in turn impacts the ocean.  One highlight was the first-ever successful release of the Coyote, an unmanned aircraft system released from hurricane hunter manned aircraft, to collect wind, temperature and other weather data in hurricane force winds during Edouard.  The Coyote flew into areas of the storm that would be too dangerous for manned aircraft, sampling weather in and around the eyewall at very low altitudes.

NOAA also participated 11 missions with the NOAA Sensing Hazards with Operational Unmanned Technology (SHOUT) and NASA Hurricane and Severe Storm Sentinel (HS3) Global Hawk aircraft, and with the Office of Naval Research and NASA HS3 high-altitude manned WB-57 aircraft.  These missions provided valuable real-time data that was used by forecasters at the National Hurricane Center and will also be studied by NOAA, NASA, and university researchers to help advance the prediction and understanding of tropical cyclone track, intensity change, and storm structure.  The data will be used to assess the impact of the data on forecast models and design aircraft sampling strategies that optimize model forecasts of tropical cyclone track and intensity.  These strategies will be used during NOAA SHOUT Global Hawk missions that are planned for the 2015 Atlantic hurricane season.   The WB-57 missions sampled Hurricane Gonzalo’s upper-level outflow with a prototype dropsonde system, its 3-dimensional wind field with a dual-frequency radar, and its surface winds with an advanced microwave radiometer.  These observations will help advance the understanding and modeling of the rarely sampled hurricane upper-level outflow layer.

HRD scientists participate in HFIP RI Workshop and Annual Review, University of Miami/RSMAS – 18-20 November 2014

The HFIP Workshop on Prediction of Tropical Cyclone Rapid Intensity Change (RIC) and Annual Review Meeting were held at the University of Miami Rosenstiel School of Marine and Atmospheric Science (RSMAS), Miami, FL from 18-20 November, 2014. The agenda, presentations, and background information are available at http://www.hfip.org/events/annual_meeting_nov_2014/.

The goals of the Workshop on Prediction of Tropical Cyclone Rapid Intensity Change (RIC) were to:

  1. Assess current capabilities for numerical and statistical prediction of RIC, including emphasis on rapid intensification
  2. Identify short-term (0-1 year) and long-term (1-3 year) potential improvements of RIC prediction

HRD scientists Rob Rogers, John Kaplan, Sundararaman Gopalakrishnan, and Jun Zhang provided invited talks.

The HFIP Annual Workshop consisted of three parts:

  1. Reports from each of the strategic and tiger teams on activities and results from 2014 and plans for 2015
  2. A couple of reports on activities relevant to the later discussions
  3. A discussion of priorities for a reduced project

Doppler radar quick-looks from 11:00 AM P-3 flight into Hurricane Simon, 5 October 2014

As Simon continued its northwestward motion southwest of Baja a NOAA P-3 collected airborne Doppler radar data to use in initializing and evaluating the HWRF model. Included here you see images of the horizontal winds within 360 km of Simon sampled from the tail Doppler radar on the P-3 aircraft during the early afternoon of 5 October 2014. These images are at three altitudes (1 km, 3 km, and 6 km) and are a composite of winds from the P-3 Doppler patterns around Simon. Also plotted on each analysis are the locations of dropsondes deployed by the P-3 (plotted using standard station symbols). These analyses show that Simon had an asymmetric distribution of precipitation around the storm center at all altitudes with the majority of the precipitation in the northeast semicircle. A vertical cross-section of the radar reflectivity on the leg to the northwest from the center showed that the radar echo tops in the eyewall dropped significantly in 24 h with echo tops only reaching up to 8-11 km altitude, with a distinct “bright band” extending radially outward from the center denoting the altitude of the 0° isotherm. There is clear indication of a circulation center at all altitudes, with a very broad area of stronger winds 30-40 km east-northeast of the circulation center at all altitudes. There is also a slight indication of a secondary wind maximum 130-140 km northeast of the circulation center at 1- and 3-km altitudes, and in the vertical cross-section. From 1-6 km altitude there is a 10-15 km tilt of the circulation center toward the east with height suggesting increasing westerly shear of the horizontal wind over Simon at this time.

All the Simon radar composites at 0.5-km height resolution are available at http://www.aoml.noaa.gov/hrd/Storm_pages/simon2014/radar.html

Radius-altitude reflectivity cross-section to the northwest of the center of Gonzalo. Aircraft altitude is denoted by the white line near 3-km altitude.

Radius-altitude reflectivity cross-section to the northwest of the center of Gonzalo. Aircraft altitude is denoted by the white line near 3-km altitude.

Doppler radar quick-looks from 11:00 AM P-3 flight into Hurricane Simon, 4 October 2014

As Simon continued its northwestward motion southwest of Baja a NOAA P-3 collected airborne Doppler radar data to use in initializing and evaluating the HWRF model. Included here you see images of the horizontal winds within 360 km of Simon sampled from the tail Doppler radar on the P-3 aircraft during the early afternoon of 4 October 2014. These images are at three altitudes (1 km, 3 km, and 6 km) and are a composite of winds from the P-3 Doppler patterns around Simon. Also plotted on each analysis are the locations of dropsondes deployed by the P-3 (plotted using standard station symbols). These analyses show that Simon had a symmetric distribution of precipitation around the storm center at all altitudes. A vertical cross-section of the radar reflectivity on the leg to the northwest from the center showed that the radar echo tops in the eyewall were as high as 15-km altitude, and a distinct “bright band” extending radially outward from the center denoting the altitude of the 0° isotherm. There is clear indication of a circulation center at all altitudes, with stronger winds only 5-10 km northeast of the circulation center at all altitudes. There is also an indication of a secondary wind maximum 110-120 km in the northern semicircle around the circulation center at all altitudes, and in the vertical cross-section. From 1-6 km altitude there is very little tilt of the circulation center with height suggesting very little vertical shear of the horizontal wind over Simon at this time.

All the Simon radar composites at 0.5-km height resolution are available at http://www.aoml.noaa.gov/hrd/Storm_pages/simon2014/radar.html

Radius-altitude reflectivity cross-section to the northwest of the center of Gonzalo. Aircraft altitude is denoted by the white line near 3-km altitude.

Radius-altitude reflectivity cross-section to the northwest of the center of Gonzalo. Aircraft altitude is denoted by the white line near 3-km altitude.

Doppler radar quick-looks from 5:00 AM P-3 flight into Hurricane Gonzalo, 17 October 2014

As Gonzalo continued its northeastward motion toward Bermuda a NOAA P-3 collected airborne Doppler radar data to use in initializing and evaluating the HWRF model, and as part of an Ocean Winds and Rain experiment. Included here you see images of the horizontal winds within 300 km of Gonzalo sampled from the tail Doppler radar on the P-3 aircraft during the early morning of 17 October 2014. These images are at three altitudes (1 km, 3 km, and 6 km) and are a composite of winds from the P-3 Doppler patterns around Gonzalo. Also plotted on each analysis are the locations of dropsondes deployed by the P-3 (plotted using standard station symbols). These analyses show that Gonzalo still had a symmetric distribution of precipitation around the storm center at all altitudes. A vertical cross-section of the radar reflectivity on the leg to the northwest from the center showed that the radar echo tops in the eyewall were as high as 15-km altitude, and a distinct “bright band” extending radially outward from the center denoting the altitude of the 0° isotherm. There is a clear indication of a circulation center at all altitudes, with stronger winds 30-35 km east of the circulation center at 1-km altitude, rotating upwind (clockwise) with increasing height, indicative of increasing westerly flow with altitude. There is also an indication of a secondary wind maximum 75-80 km in the eastern semicircle around the circulation center at all altitudes. From 1-6 km altitude there is 5-10 tilt of the circulation center with height toward the east-southeast indicative of increasing westerly shear of the horizontal wind.

All the Gonzalo radar composites at 0.5-km height resolution are available at http://www.aoml.noaa.gov/hrd/Storm_pages/gonzalo2014/radar.html

Radius-altitude reflectivity cross-section to the northwest of the center of Gonzalo. Aircraft altitude is denoted by the white line near 3-km altitude.

Radius-altitude reflectivity cross-section to the northwest of the center of Gonzalo. Aircraft altitude is denoted by the white line near 3-km altitude.

Doppler radar quick-looks from 5:00 AM P-3 flight into Hurricane Gonzalo, 16 October 2014

As Gonzalo continued its northward motion southwest of Bermuda a NOAA P-3 collected airborne Doppler radar data to use in initializing and evaluating the HWRF model, and as part of an Ocean Winds and Rain experiment. Included here you see images of the horizontal winds within 300 km of Gonzalo sampled from the tail Doppler radar on the P-3 aircraft during the early morning of 16 October 2014. These images are at three altitudes (1 km, 3 km, and 6 km) and are a composite of winds from the P-3 Doppler patterns around Gonzalo. Also plotted on each analysis are the locations of dropsondes deployed by the P-3 (plotted using standard station symbols). These analyses show that Gonzalo still had a symmetric distribution of precipitation around the storm center at all altitudes. A vertical cross-section of the radar reflectivity on the leg to the northwest from the center showed that the radar echo tops in the eyewall were as high as 16-km altitude, and a distinct “bright band” extending radially outward from the center denoting the altitude of the 0° isotherm. There is a clear indication of a circulation center at all altitudes, with stronger winds 15-20 km east-northeast of the circulation center at 1-km altitude, rotating upwind (clockwise) with increasing height, indicative of increasing southwesterly flow with altitude. From 1-6 km altitude there is very little tilt of the circulation center with height.

All the Gonzalo radar composites at 0.5-km height resolution are available at http://www.aoml.noaa.gov/hrd/Storm_pages/gonzalo2014/radar.html

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Radius-altitude reflectivity cross-section to the northwest of the center of Gonzalo. Aircraft altitude is denoted by the white line near 3-km altitude.

Hurricane Field Program Update – Friday, October 17, 2014 11AM Eastern

OPERATIONS

Friday, 17 October 2014

G-IV: Is tasked for another synoptic surveillance mission around Tropical Storm Ana. The aircraft will depart Honolulu, HI at 1730 UTC and recover in Long Beach, CA about 8 h later.

NOAA43: Is tasked for the 1130 UTC reconnaissance center fix for Hurricane Gonzalo. The aircraft will depart St. Croix at 0830 UTC and recover in MacDill AFB about 8 h later.

Drifter buoy deployment:  A series of 10 drifting buoys will be deployed from an Air Force C-130 aircraft southeast of the Big Island of Hawaii, ahead of Tropical Storm Ana’s track. The launch is scheduled for the time between 1200 and 1600 UTC.

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For the latest information about tropical cyclones and other weather systems, please visit the NOAA/NWS/National Hurricane Center web site at http://www.nhc.noaa.gov

To access updates on IFEX and other HRD activities via Facebook, Twitter, or RSS feed, check out the HRD home page at: http://www.aoml.noaa.gov/hrd

To directly access updates on IFEX HFP Operations via our WordPress blog on the web, check the site https://noaahrd.wordpress.com/category/ifex-hurricane-field-program/

DISCLAIMER: The above discussion is intended to provide a brief summary of recent and future HRD Hurricane Field Program Operations. Any use of this material beyond its original intent is prohibited without permission of the HRD Director. Media inquiries should be directed to Erica Rule (305-361-4541) or Erica.Rule@noaa.gov, Evan Forde (305-361-4327) or Evan.Forde@noaa.gov, Monica Allen (301-734-1123) or Monica.Allen@noaa.gov.

Doppler radar quick-looks from 10:00 AM P-3 flights into Hurricane Edouard, 17 September 2014

As Edouard continued its northeastward motion east-northeast of Bermuda a NOAA P-3 collected airborne Doppler radar data to use in initializing and evaluating the HWRF model. Included here you see images of the horizontal winds within 300 km of Edouard sampled from the tail Doppler radar on the P-3 aircraft during midday of 17 September 2014. These images are at three altitudes (1 km, 3 km, and 6 km) and are a composite of winds from the P-3 Doppler patterns around Edouard. Also plotted on each analysis are the locations of dropsondes deployed by the P-3 (plotted using standard station symbols). These analyses show that Edouard still had a relatively symmetric distribution of precipitation around the storm center at all altitudes. There is indication of a circulation center at all altitudes, with stronger winds 35-40 km southeast of the circulation center at 1-km altitude, rotating upwind (clockwise) with increasing height, indicative of increasing westerly flow with altitude. There is also indication of a secondary wind maximum 75-80 km south-southeast of the circulation center at all altitudes. From 1-6 km altitude there is  10-15 km tilt to the east of the circulation center with height from 1- to 6-km altitude indicative of increasing westerly shear of the horizontal wind with height over the storm.

All the Edouard radar composites at 0.5-km height resolution are available at http://www.aoml.noaa.gov/hrd/Storm_pages/edouard2014/radar.html

Doppler radar quick-looks from 11:00 AM P-3 flights into Hurricane Edouard, 16 September 2014

As Edouard continued its northward motion east of Bermuda two NOAA P-3s collected airborne Doppler radar data to use in initializing and evaluating the HWRF model ,and as part of an Ocean Winds and Rain experiment. Included here you see images of the horizontal winds within 350 km of Edouard sampled from the tail Doppler radar on the two P-3 aircraft during the afternoon of 16 September 2014. These images are at three altitudes (1 km, 3 km, and 7 km) and are a composite of winds from the P-3 Doppler patterns around Edouard. Also plotted on each analysis are the locations of dropsondes deployed by the P-3 and a Global Hawk (plotted using standard station symbols). These analyses show that Edouard still had a symmetric distribution of precipitation around the storm center at all altitudes. There is indication of a circulation center at all altitudes, with stronger winds 30-35 km east of the circulation center at 1-km altitude, rotating upwind (clockwise) with increasing height, indicative of increasing southwesterly flow with altitude. There is also indication of a secondary wind maximum 90-100 km in the eastern semicircle at 1- and 3- km altitude. From 1-7 km altitude there is  5-10 km tilt to the east-southeast of the circulation center with height from 1- to 7-km altitude indicative of increasing westerly shear of the horizontal wind with height over the storm.

All the Edouard radar composites at 0.5-km height resolution are available at http://www.aoml.noaa.gov/hrd/Storm_pages/edouard2014/radar.html

A NASA Hurricane and Severe Storm Sentinel (HS3) Global Hawk mission was conducted into Edouard from 1240 UTC 16 September to 11121 UTC 1 September, overlapping these two NOAA P-3 missions, dropping 85 dropsondes in modified butterfly pattern over Hurricane Edouard.

Flight tracks for P-3s (blue and red) and Global Hawk (green)

Flight tracks for P-3s (blue and red) and Global Hawk (green)

Doppler radar quick-looks from 11:00 AM P-3 and G-IV flights into Hurricane Edouard, 15 September 2014

As Edouard continued its northward motion east-southeast of Bermuda two NOAA P-3s and the G-IV collected airborne Doppler radar data to use in initializing and evaluating the HWRF model ,and as part of an Ocean Winds and Rain experiment. Included here you see images of the horizontal winds within 350 km of Edouard sampled from the tail Doppler radar on the two P-3 and G-IV aircraft during the afternoon of 15 September 2014. These images are at three altitudes (1 km, 3 km, and 7 km) and are a composite of winds from the P-3 and G-IV Doppler pattern around Edouard. Also plotted on each analysis are the locations of dropsondes deployed by the P-3 and G-IV (plotted using standard station symbols). These analyses show that Edouard still had a symmetric distribution of precipitation around the storm center at all altitudes. There is indication of a circulation center at all altitudes, with stronger winds 30-35 km north-northeast of the circulation center at 1-km altitude, rotating upwind (clockwise) with increasing height, indicative of increasing southerly flow with altitude. From 1-7 km altitude there is  5-10 km tilt to the northeast of the circulation center with height from 1- to 7-km altitude indicative of increasing southwesterly shear of the horizontal wind with height over the storm.

All the Edouard radar composites at 0.5-km height resolution are available at http://www.aoml.noaa.gov/hrd/Storm_pages/edouard2014/radar.html