Impact of Global Hawk Observing Strategies on Vortex-Scale Tropical Cyclone Forecasts in an OSSE Framework

Tuesday, 19 April 2016: 12:00 PM
Ponce de Leon C (The Condado Hilton Plaza)
Brittany Dahl, NOAA/AOML and Univ. of Miami/CIMAS, Miami, FL; and H. Christophersen, A. Aksoy, and J. Dunion

One aspect of NOAA's Sensing Hazards with Operational Unmanned Technology (SHOUT) program is to provide targeted observations of tropical cyclones (TCs) using the Global Hawk unmanned aircraft system (UAS) in an effort to improve weather model forecasts and mitigate gaps in satellite observations. Given limitations on how much of the atmosphere can be sampled at one time, it is important to strategize the placement of the observing system in order to maximize the utility of the data that are collected. The possible presence of observations from other reconnaissance aircraft and/or satellites also needs to be taken into account in this decision-making process. This study will examine how variations in the Global Hawk observing strategies affect the TC track and intensity forecast in a vortex-scale data assimilation and forecasting system.

The potential impact of the flight patterns will be assessed through an observing system simulation experiment (OSSE), wherein observations from Global Hawk platforms (e.g., dropsondes) are simulated, in conjunction with observing platforms from other reconnaissance aircraft and/or satellites, by sampling the Nolan et al. (2013) hurricane nature run. These data are then assimilated using NOAA/AOML/HRD's Hurricane Ensemble Data Assimilation System (HEDAS), which includes a square-root ensemble Kalman filter and storm-relative observation processing, prior to running a forecast with HWRF. Comparisons of the HWRF forecasts to the nature run will be presented as well as considerations for future Global Hawk mission design.

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