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Advanced prediction and modeling

Principal Investigator:

Project Members:

Collaborating Scientists:

Dr. Vijay Tallapragada (NCEP/EMC)

Dr. Robert Atlas (AOML)

Dr. J.-W. Bao (ESRL/PSD)

Dr. Svetla M Hristova-Veleva (NASA/JPL)

International Collaborators (Points of Contact): 

  • Prof.U.C.Mohanty (Indian Institute of Technology) New Delhi, India


The main goal of the AOML/HRD Numerical Modeling Group is to develop and further advance NOAA's HWRF modeling system. To this end, the group's research efforts are divided into the following six categories:

  1. Advancing our understanding of hurricane processes using high-resolution numerical modeling of both real and idealized storms.
  2. Advancing NOAA's HWRF model with better vortex-scale analysis techniques in order to improve forecasts.
  3. Advancing NOAA's HWRF core with a mass conserved approach for three-way interactive nesting.
  4. Advancing NOAA's HWRF model's physical parameterizations through use of observations collected by HRD's Hurricane Field Program.
  5. Developing the next generation HWRF tropical forecast system that will be capable of ingesting basin-scale observations and accurately simulating multiple storm interactions using multiply-nested and high-resolution moving domains.


NOAA's Hurricane Weather Research and Forecasting (HWRF) model has been used for several years by NHC as one of their operational forecast models. However, the results from NOAA's HWRF model, as with many of the operational models, left much room for improvement, especially in the areas of storm structure and intensity prediction. The AOML/HRD Numerical Modeling Group, through a multi-year effort supported by NOAA's Hurricane Forecast Improvement Project (HFIP), has improved the original NOAA's HWRF model. This new cutting-edge high-resolution hurricane model, will form the backbone of future improvements to track, intensity and structure predictions. The group's sustained research using cutting edge numerical modeling and verification techniques has helped accelerate the advancement of the model's development and has played a key role in the success of NOAA's Hurricane Forecast Improvement Project (HFIP). Their achievements will provide hurricane forecasters not only with improved forecasts, but also with critical information on the evolution of the three dimensional wind structure within the storm. Some of the improvements to the model include:

  1. The group added the ability of the model to accurately forecast multiple hurricanes during a single simulation by developing novel computer code that places multiple nested, high-resolution "moving grids". This was a significant scientific and engineering achievement that required optimization of the code enabling the improved model to produce real-time (operational) hurricane forecasts at very high resolution with minimal additional computational resources.
  2. Increasing the resolution for the model that not only resulted in improvements to the forecasts but also allowed the model to capture more detail about the wind and rain structure of the storm.
  3. The group, in partnership with NOAA's Environmental Modeling Center (EMC), developed a novel method to initialize the wind structure of storms for the model. This new computationally-efficient method adjusts and reuses the model-evolved storms in subsequent simulations. The improved initial hurricane structure is another contributor to improved intensity forecasts.
  4. The group also incorporated into the model better representations of the various factors that contribute to hurricane intensification such as energy fluxes from ocean to atmosphere, rain, moisture, etc. In addition, members of the group participated in NOAA flights that collected inner-core data from various hurricanes. The group used the collected data to guide their development of the improvements to the model.
  5. The group developed innovative model analysis tools that allowed for comparisons of model and observed storm structures, track and intensity forecasts. Part of this effort involved the development of an advanced web-based graphical interface that provided the scientific community, including HFIP specialists, with access to this information in real-time.

As a result of the AOML/HRD Numerical Modeling Group's diligent efforts, unparalleld support by NOAA's HFIP, and close collaborative research work with EMC, the improved NOAA's HWRF model was incorporated as one of NHC's operational hurricane forecasting models beginning with the 2012 season. Improved forecasts benefit emergency managers along coastal areas of the US, reducing warning times and the extent of evacuation areas, thus saving lives, helping to mitigate property damage and increasing the public's confidence in NOAA's official hurricane forecasts and warnings. In addition, the meteorological community has also recognized the impact of the group's outstanding research through their published journal articles and presentations at international scientific conferences, workshops, and strategic planning sessions. Also, the group organized and lead the first Advanced Indo-U.S. Workshop and Colloquium on Modeling and Data Assimilation for Tropical Cyclone Predictions, which brought together leading experts in research and operational meteorological disciplines from around the world to shed light on the challenges and opportunities in predicting tropical cyclones.

Project Links: References:
  1. Gopalakrishnan, S.G., N. Surgi, R. Tuleya, and Z. Janjic, 2006 : "NCEP's Two-way-Interactive-Moving-Nest NMM-WRF modeling system for Hurricane Forecasting", 27th Conference on Hurricanes and Tropical Meteorology, 24-28 April 2006, Monterey, California. 
  2. Atlas, Robert, Lin, S.J., Bo-Wen Shen, Oreste Reale and Kao-San Yeh, 2007 : "Improving Hurricane Prediction through innovative Global Modeling"Extending the Horizons : Advances in Computing, Optimization, and Decision Technologies, (Springer-Verlag) edited by E.K. Baker, Anito Joseph, Anuj Mehrotra, and Michael A. Trick. 
  3. Gopalakrishnan, S.G., David P. Bacon, Nash'at N. Ahmad, Zafer Boybeyi, Thomas J. Dunn, Mary S. Hall, Yi Jin, Pius C. S. Lee, Rangaro V. Madala, R.Ananthakrishna Sarma, Mark D. Turner, and Tim Wait, 2002 : "An Operational Multi-Scale Atmospheric Model with Grid Adaptivity for Hurricane Forecasting",Mon. Wea. Rev., 2002, Vol. 130, No. 7, pp. 1830-1847

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