92nd American Meteorological Society Annual Meeting (January 22-26, 2012)

Wednesday, 25 January 2012: 4:00 PM
A Re-Examination of QuikSCAT Winds and Their Impact in National Hurricane Center Operations
Room 256 (New Orleans Convention Center )
Rick Danielson, UCAR, Miami, FL; and M. J. Brennan and B. W. Stiles

Scatterometer wind information can improve analysis and situational awareness in marine and tropical cyclone forecasting - in particular, for rough seas or heavy precipitation - for which the interpretation of backscatter is also complicated. Ten years of QuikSCAT observations (1999-2009), followed by two years without them, provide an opportunity to review some of the operational challenges at the National Hurricane Center (NHC) in the post-QuikSCAT era. Some consideration of the European ASCAT and Indian Oceansat-2 scatterometers will also be given.

One challenge is the assessment of tropical cyclone intensity and 34-kt wind radii (subject to resolution limitations and the presence of rain). Wind retrieval by a neural network approach (that implicitly considers rain impacts) will be compared to a more conventional approach using about 230 QuikSCAT passes over tropical cyclones in the Atlantic basin. Improvements in the retrievals using the neural network approach will be quantified using NHC Best Track data.

Another challenge is the detection of storm-force (48-63kt) gap wind events in the Gulf of Tehuantepec. A comparison of subjective (NHC High Seas) and objective (ECMWF Interim) analyses suggest that more skillful detection may have been possible using the QuikSCAT winds retrieved at the time.

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