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Hurricane Impacts

Principal Investigators:
Sim Aberson
Peter Dodge
Shirley Murillo
Mark D. Powell
Rob Rogers

At AOML's Hurricane Research Division we seek to contribute to NOAA performance objectives to:

  • Increase lead time and accuracy for hurricane warnings and forecasts,
  • Improve predictability of the onset, duration, and impact of hurricanes,
  • Transition our science and technology to operations and services,
  • Work with public and private partners to integrate diverse sets of tropical cyclone observations and create products for decision support, risk evaluation, impact assessment and disaster recovery.

Tropical cyclone impacts in the Atlantic, eastern Pacific, and Central Pacific basins are carefully monitored in near-realtime through an adaptive observing system comprised of of NOAA and Air Force reconnaissance aircraft, visible, microwave, and scatterometer measurements from space, and conventional data transmitted from ships, buoys, and land-based stations. AOML scientists conduct near real-time analyses and develop experimental products to convey the extent and magnitude of the impact (with associated uncertainties) using an integrated observation analysis system (H*Wind). The experimental H*Wind products are contained in a public archive in graphical and gridded format and have been used by a diverse group of scientists and other users for a wide variety of research, decision-support, and recovery activities.

Tropical cyclone rainfall and its associated flooding is seen as a leading cause of hurricane related deaths. AOML scientists use land and aircraft based Doppler radars, together with satellite measurements from the TRMM instruments, to develop a tropical cyclone climatology and persistence rainfall prediction model. This model had been recently transitioned to operations at NOAA's Tropical Prediction Center. Current work focuses on developing new methods to evaluate rainfall forecasts from numerical tropical cyclone prediction models and testing different cloud and precipitation microphysics parameterizations to improve model rainfall predictions.

NOAA's coastal and airborne Doppler radars have unique geometric coverage overlaps and sampling strategies that allow extraction of tropical cyclone wind information that can be combined with other data sources to improve the analysis of the wind and mass fields. Working with partners from NCAR, AOML scientists developed the the Ground-based Velocity Track Display (GBVTD) method to extract two dimensional wind fields from single Doppler radars and have also conducted dual Doppler analyses for hurricane landfall cases. The realtime 3D airborne Doppler radar analyses conducted onboard the NOAA P3 aircraft provide critical information to fill data voids in H*WInd analyses and also provide information needed to conduct data assimilation for to initialize the new generation of numerical forecast models.

AOML's expertise in understanding hurricane impacts has led to a partnership with the State of Florida to work with several universities to develop the first public hurricane risk model. AOML leads the development of the Meteorological component of the model which was certified by the Florida Commission on Property Loss Projection Methodology in August of 2007. The model is used to assist the Florida Office of Insurance Regulation by providing a baseline estimate of average annual insured loss at the county and zip code levels. All model components and results are transparent and open to public scrutiny.


Hurricanes at Landfall
Ground-Based Velocity Track Display
Microphysics study
Extratropical Transition
Hurricane risk model
Hurricane Surface winds

Hurricane Impacts Publications by AOML/HRD scientists:

  • Powell, M. D. and T. A. Reinhold, 2007: Tropical cyclone destructive potential by Integrated Kinetic Energy, Bull. Amer. Meteo. Soc., 87, 513-526.
  • Rogers, R. F., M. L. Black. S. S. Chen, and R. A. Black, 2007: An Evaluation of Microphysics Fields from Mesoscale Model Simulations of Tropical Cyclones. Pat I: Comparisons with Observations. J. Atmos. Sci., 64, 1811-1834.
  • Lonfat, M., R. Rogers, F. Marks, Jr., and T. Marchok, 2007: A Parametric Model for Predicting Hurricane Rainfall. Mon. Wea. Rev., 135, 3086-3097.
  • Marchok, T., R. Rogers, and R. Tuleya, 2007: Validation Schemes for Tropical Cyclone Quantitative Precipitation Forecasts: Evaluation of Operational Models for U.S. Landfalling Cases. Wea. and Forec., 22, 726-746.
  • Rogers, R., S. Aberson, M. Black, P. Black, J. Cione, P. Dodge, J. Gamache, J. Kaplan, M. Powell, N. Shay, N. Surgi, E. Uhlhorn, 2006: The Intensity Forecasting Experiment, Bull. Amer. Meteo. Soc.,87, 1523-1537.
  • Graber, H. C., V. J. Cardone, R. E. Jensen, D. N. Slinn, S. C. Hagen, A. T. Cox, M. D. Powell, and C. Grassi, 2006: Coastal forecasts and storm surge predictionsfor tropical cyclones: A timely partnership program. Oceanography, 19, 130-141.
  • Blank, J. A. Knaff, and J. Kaplan, 2006: On the decay of tropical cyclone winds crossing narrow landmasses. J. Appl. Meteor., 45, 491-499.
  • Powell, M. D., G. Soukup, S. Cocke, S. Gulati, N. Morisseau-Leroy, S. Hamid, N. Dorst, and L. Axe, 2005: State of Florida hurricane loss projection model: Atmospheric science component. J. Wind Engineer. and Indust. Aerodyn., 93, 651-674.
  • Powell, M. D. and S. D. Abesron, 2001: Accuracy of United States tropical cyclone landfall forecasts in the Atlantic basin 1976-2000., Bull. Amer. Meteo. Soc.,82, 2749-2767.
  • Kaplan, J., and M. DeMaria, 2001:On the decay of tropical cyclone winds after landfall in the New England area. J. Appl. Meteor., 40, 280-286.
  • Powell, M. D., S. H. Houston, and T. A. Reinhold, 1996: Hurricane Andrew's Landfall in South Florida. Part I: Standardizing measurements for documentation of surface wind fields.Wea. Forecast., 11, 304-328
  • Powell, M. D., and S. H. Houston, 1996: Hurricane Andrew's Landfall in South Florida. Part II: Surface Wind Fields and Potential Real-time Applications. Wea. Forecast., 11, 329-349
  • Kaplan, J., and M. DeMaria, 1995: A simple empirical model for predicting the decay of tropical cyclone winds after landfall. J. Appl. Meteor., 34, 2499-2512.
  • Marks, F. D., 1990: Radar observations of tropical weather systems, Radar in Meteorology, D. Atlas, ed, American Meteorological Society, Boston, 401--425.
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