Sarah Ditchek

Research Interests

Tropical cyclone structure.

Tropical cyclone intensity change.

Tropical cyclone diurnal processes.

Data impact studies.

Sarah Ditchek, Ph.D.

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


4301 Rickenbacker Causeway
Miami, Florida 33149

Dr. Sarah Ditchek’s research focuses on quantifying the impact of tropical cyclone (TC) reconnaissance data on TC track, intensity, and structure forecasts. In doing so, she created, maintains, and adds new capabilities to a publicly-available, comprehensive TC-verification visualization package (GROOT). This package generates uniform, publication-ready graphics on error statistics, assimilated observations, and various dynamic and thermodynamic fields using output from HWRF, HAFS, or GFS. She also provides verification graphics for individual TCs worldwide as well as all TCs by basin for the Post-TC Verification page on the AOML Hurricane Model Viewer, a public-facing government website hosted by AOML. She received her B.S. in Geology and Geophysics with a concentration in Atmosphere, Ocean, and Climate from Yale University in 2014 and her Ph.D. in Atmospheric Science from the University at Albany in 2019. Her previous research focused on the following topics: monsoon disturbances, the tropical cyclone outflow layer, tropical cyclone intensity change, and tropical cyclone diurnal pulses (her dissertation topic). For more details on her research including papers, a CV, and a diurnal pulse archive, please visit her website.

Current Work

  • Assesses the impact of TC reconnaissance data on TC forecasts
  • Created, maintains, and adds new capabilities to a publicly-available TC-verification visualization package, GROOT.
  • Generates graphics for the AOML Hurricane Model Viewer’s Post-TC Verification page.

Download Full CV

2019, Ph.D. Atmospheric Science, Department of Atmospheric and Environmental Sciences (DAES), University at Albany, Albany, NY

Dissertation Title: On the Frequency, Structure, and Characteristics of Tropical Cyclone Diurnal Pulses

2014, B.S. Department of Geology and Geophysics (Concentration: Atmosphere, Ocean, and Climate), Yale University, New Haven, CT

Thesis Title: A Genesis Potential Index for Asian-Australian Monsoon Low Pressure Systems

  1. Ditchek, S.D., and J.A. Sippel. A comparison of the impacts of inner-core, over-vortex, and environmental dropsondes on tropical cyclone forecasts during the 2017-2020 hurricane seasons. Weather and Forecasting, 38(11):2169-2187, 2023
    Ref. 4304
  2. Ditchek, S.D., J.A. Sippel, G.J. Alaka Jr., S.B. Goldenberg, And L. Cucurull. A systematic assessment of the overall dropsonde impact during the 2017-2020 hurricane seasons using the basin-scale HWRF. Weather and Forecasting, 38(6):789-816, 2023
    Ref. 4241
  3. Ditchek, S.D., J.A. Sippel, P.J. Marinescu, and G.J. Alaka, Jr. Improving best-track verification of tropical cyclones: A new metric to identify forecast consistency. Weather and Forecasting, 38(6):817-831, 2023
    Ref. 4243

DAES Narayan R. Gokhale Distinguished Research Scholarship Award | Fall 2020

University at Albany’s Distinguished Doctoral Dissertation Award | Spring 2020

DAES Distinguished Service Award | Fall 2019

National Defense Science and Engineering Graduate (NDSEG) Fellowship | Fall 2014-Summer 2017

NOAA Hollings Undergraduate Scholarship Program | Summer 2012-Spring 2014