P2.21 Dynamics and predictability of Hurricane Humberto (2007) revealed from ensemble analysis and forecasting

Wednesday, 19 August 2009
Arches/Deer Valley (Sheraton Salt Lake City Hotel)
Jason Sippel, NASA/GSFC, Greenbelt, MD; and F. Zhang

This study uses short-range ensemble forecasts initialized with an Ensemble-Kalman filter to study the dynamics and predictability of Hurricane Humberto, which made landfall along the Texas coast in 2007. Statistical correlation is used to determine why some ensemble members strengthen the incipient low into a hurricane and others do not. It is found that deep moisture and high convective available potential energy (CAPE) are two of the most important factors for the genesis of Humberto. Variations in CAPE result in as much difference (ensemble spread) in the final hurricane intensity as do variations in deep moisture. CAPE differences here are related to the interaction between the cyclone and a nearby front, which tends to stabilize the lower troposphere in the vicinity of the circulation center. This subsequently weakens convection and slows genesis. Eventually the wind-induced surface heat exchange mechanism and differences in landfall time result in even larger ensemble spread.
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