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Autumn 2013

The Tropical Cyclone Modeling Team (TCMT) was formed as part RAL’s Joint Numerical Testbed (JNT) in 2009 to help assess hurricane and tropical storm forecasts from experimental models. As such, its members interact with the DTC in two particular ways: by designing methods and products appropriate for tropical cyclone verification that can be installed in maintained software at the DTC, and by providing both real-time and retrospective performance measures for each years’ hurricane forecasts. At a working level, members of the TCMT are often contributing DTC members as well.

The intent of the yearly retrospective evaluations are to provide guidance to the National Hurricane Center as they choose particular experimental forecast models to use for operational guidance during the upcoming hurricane season. In recent years these retrospective studies have focused on hurricane track and intensity forecasts from suites of comparison models forwarded by universities, research laboratories, and national centers. This evaluation is intended to help achieve the goals of NOAA’s Hurricane Forecast Improvement Project (HFIP), a program in which the DTC hurricane task is also involved.


The accompanying figure, to the right, illustrates some results from the 2013 Retrospective Exercise (covering hurricane seasons 2010-2012). In the figure, the rank of a single experimental model hurricane intensity forecast is shown relative to that of the three top performing models. As a general rule, while hurricane tracking has dramatically improved in recent years, better intensity forecasts remain elusive.

Contributed by Kathryn Newman