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Vortex-Scale Data Assimilation With HEDAS

Principal Investigator:

Project Members:

Collaborating Scientists:
  • Jeff Whitaker, NOAA/ESRL/PSD
  • Jeff Steward, UCLA/JIFFRESSE
  • Svetla Hristova-Veleva, NASA/JPL
  • Nelsie Ramos, NOAA/NHC

Funding Information:

  • Improve high-resolution hurricane prediction by utilizing all available observations in and near the hurricane inner core
  • Investigate and develop advanced data assimilation techniques for high-resolution hurricane inner-core data assimilation
  • Investigate the potential impacts of existing and proposed observational platforms for hurricane inner-core data assimilation
  • Develop techniques and forward operators to assimilate non-conventional observation types (such as cloudy satellite radiances) in the hurricane inner core
  • Provide performance benchmarks for NOAA's operational HWRF modeling system


HEDAS Schematic

  • The positive impact of aircraft observations for vortex-scale data assimilation has been demonstrated using a large sample of hurricane cases with aircraft data. These results are summarized in Aksoy et al. 2013.
  • Since the 2012 hurricane season, a storm-relative observation processing capability is implemented. The details of this technique are discussed in Aksoy 2013. You can also find more information on the storm-relative data assimilation project page.
  • During the 2013 hurricane season, satellite retrieved wind and thermodynamic observations were assimilated in addition to traditional aircraft-based observations. Some of the latest results from the 2013 runs are summarized in the the first half of a recent talk by Altug Aksoy. The following figure summarizes HEDAS' 2013 performance in terms of verifications of HWRF forecasts initialized with the HEDAS vortex:

HEDAS Verification 2013

From the figure, it is clear that forecasts initialized with a HEDAS vortex analysis are improved in terms of both track and intensity when compared to the operational HWRF forecasts. Furthermore, the addition of satellite retrieval observations to our traditional aircraft dataset appears to make further improvements in intensity. Due to the limited number of cases verified especially at longer lead times, while these results by no means should be interpreted as comprehensive, it is nevertheless encouraging to see that advanced data assimilation techniques with high-quality observations do make a difference in TC forecasts. A further indication of forecast improvements can be also found in the following figure, which shows the number of cases verified for each forecast configuration tested:

HEDAS Number of Verified Cases 2013

The fact that the number of cases that can be verified increases as satellite data are assimilated in addition to aircraft data indicates that forecasts initialized with vortex analyses that assimilated satellite data are able to maintain the initial vortex for longer lead times than just aircraft data.

  • Our recent results with satellite AMVs plus AIRS and GPS-RO retrieval observations were summarized in a poster that was recently presented at the American Meteorological Society's 31st Conference on Hurricanes and Tropical Meteorology in San Diego, California:

HEDAS Poster AMS 2014


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