Kathryn Sellwood

Headshot photo of Kathryn Sellwood. Photo Credit: NOAA/AOML

Research Highlights

Research Interests

Collection, evaluation, and assimilation of observations obtained using NOAA aircraft and remote sensing platforms in the inner core region of tropical cyclones.

Kathryn Sellwood

Senior Research Associate I (University of Miami/CIMAS), Hurricane Research Division

4301 Rickenbacker Causeway
Miami, Florida 33149

“I read that a meteorologist should have math and science aptitude and be a bit crazy and thought ‘That’s me!'”

Kathryn Sellwood’s research focuses on optimizing the assimilation of observations collected in and around tropical cyclones to improve numerical prediction of tropical cyclone intensity. Kathryn has been working in the Hurricane Research Division as an associate with the University of Miami’s Cooperative Institute for Marine and Atmospheric Studies. Kathryn maintains an extensive archive of all dropwindsonde observations collected in and around tropical cyclones by NOAA, U.S. Airforce and other research aircraft. These data are made available to the scientific community via the HRD website and anonymous F.T.P. server and support is provided for their use. As a member of the data assimilation group at HRD she works towards optimizing the use of these and other reconnaissance data in the Hurricane Analysis and Forecast System (HAFS), which will soon replace the HWRF model. This research includes experiments to determine which observing strategies are most beneficial to numerical forecast improvement, exploring new methods for data quality control, and improving the use of dropsonde data. Kathryn is also conducting research to evaluate observations collected using innovative instrumentation which can be mounted on un-crewed aircraft or low orbiting satellites. In the course of her research using hurricane observations, Kathryn has developed tools for reading and quality control of multiple data types. She is applying these tools to create a comprehensive data set of tropical cyclone observations centered on individual storm locations and times. The resulting product is intended to be shared publicly so that it might be used for research, reanalysis or model verification.

Current Work

Evaluating the effectiveness of surface observation networks on tropical cyclone precipitation forecasts.

Optimizing data assimilation for observations using small uncrewed aircraft systems, SUAS, for tropical cyclone forecasts and analyses.

Maintaining a comprehensive archive of all dropwindsonde observations collected in and around tropical cyclones.

Designing and providing training in the use of ASPEN dropwindsonde quality control software.

Contributing to advances in the assimilation of dropwindsonde data into the Hurricane Analyses and Forecast System, HAFS.

Download Full CV

2007, M.S. Meteorology and Physical Oceanography, University of Miami, Coral Gables, FL

  1. Aberson, S.D., J.A. Zhang, J. Zawislak, K. Sellwood, R. Rogers, and J.J. Cione. The NCAR GPS dropwindsonde and its impact on hurricane operations and research. Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society, 104(11):E2134-E2154, https://doi.org/10.1175/BAMS-D-22-0119.1 2023
    Ref. 4330
  2. Sellwood, K.J., J.A. Sippel, and A. Aksoy. Assimilation of Coyote small uncrewed aircraft system observations in Hurricane Maria (2017) using operational HWRF. Weather and Forecasting, 38(6):901-919, https://doi.org/10.1175/WAF-D-22-0214.1 2023
    Ref. 4242
  3. Zawislak, J., R.F. Rogers, S.D. Aberson, G.J. Alaka, G. Alvey, A. Aksoy, L. Bucci, J. Cione, N. Dorst, J. Dunion, M. Fischer, J. Gamache, S. Gopalakrishnan, A. Hazelton, H.M. Holbach, J. Kaplan, H. Leighton, F. Marks, S.T. Murillo, P. Reasor, K. Ryan, K. Sellwood, J.A. Sippel, and J.A. Zhang. Accomplishments of NOAA’S airborne hurricane field program and a broader future approach to forecast improvement. Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society, 103(2):E311-E338, https://doi.org/10.1175/BAMS-D-20-0174.1 2022
    Ref. 3984

2022 U.S. Department of Commerce Bronze Medal

For rapid development of an application allowing aircraft acquired dropsonde data to be processed and disseminated from the ground. 

2020 U.S. Department of Commerce Gold Medal

For courage, dedication, and heroism during search and rescue operations aboard NOAA’s P-3 Hurricane Hunter aircraft to locate the vessel Bourbon Rhode and its crew (on September 27-28, 2019).

2011, 2015, 2017 NASA Group Achievement Award

For participating in the Genesis and Rapid Intensification Project (GRIP), Hurricane and Severe Storm Sentinel Experiment (HS3), and Sensing Hazards with Unmanned Operational Technology (SHOUT).