|Dynamical Seasonal Hurricane Forecasting|
|Wednesday, 07 May 2008 07:36|
Seasonal hurricane forecasting using dynamical models to forecast the intensity and frequency in the Atlantic, Caribbean and Gulf regions is vital to those living in the hurricane impact areas. It is estimated that one mile of coastline costs an average of $1 million dollars to evacuate. In terms of dollars, hurricanes are the costliest U.S. natural disaster. The ability to provide in a probabilistic framework hurricane frequencies, intensity and possible impact areas a season in advance would give the local/state and national governments the ability to strategically prepare supplies for loss of basic services such as food, water and electricity and inform the governments on the potential of large loss of life and structural damage with sufficient forewarning.
Recently, some sophisticated atmospheric general circulation models, including the COAPS model, have shown the ability simulate the year-to-year variability of hurricane numbers in the Atlantic. The COAPS atmospheric model is able to simulate the interannual variability with a 78% correlation between the number of simulated storms and the actual number of storms for the hurricane seasons of 1986-2005. These atmospheric general circulation models employ our best understanding of atmospheric dynamics and physics and comprise over 100,000 lines of computer code and take many hours to run on supercomputers using multiple CPUs.
The goal of the FSU scientists: Drs. Tim LaRow, Steve Cocke, D.W. Shin and Y.-K. Lim, is to understand and predict, in a probabilistic framework, the intensity, frequency and possible impact areas of hurricanes, a season in advance. By using advanced hurricane detection and tracking codes we will be able to quantify the nature of the upcoming hurricane season. To our science objectives, we will make use of a fully coupled ocean-atmospheric general circulation model. This new model will use the COAPS atmospheric model at a very high spatial resolution coupled to a state-of-the-art ocean general circulation model developed at the Max Planck Institute in Germany. The ocean model will use the fluxes determined by the atmospheric model to predict amongst things such as ocean currents and sea surface temperatures which will be used in the atmospheric model's next time step. This new coupled model will employ the highest atmosphere and ocean resolution currently in use in the U.S. for seasonal hurricane studies.