3.2 Methodology to Analyze Tropical Cyclone Intensity and Wind Distribution from Microwave Imagery

Wednesday, 10 January 2018: 1:45 PM
Ballroom G (ACC) (Austin, Texas)
Matthew W. Perkins, Air Force Institute of Technology, Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, OH; and R. A. Stenger, O. A. Nava, and M. E. Kucas

Satellites with microwave remote sensing capabilities can be utilized to study atmospheric phenomena through high-level cloud cover (particularly cirrus), an advantage over visible and infrared bands, which only sense cloud tops. This unique capability makes microwave imagery ideal for studying the cloud structures of tropical cyclones (TCs) in detail, and relating these features to TC intensity. Techniques to estimate the intensity of TCs using infrared imagery, such as the Dvorak technique, have been used in TC forecasting for 40 years. However, due to the inherent temporal limitations of microwave imagery, no such similar technique exists for the microwave spectrum. This study utilizes pattern recognition to develop a subjective technique for estimating TC intensity using microwave imagery. The dataset includes TC composite imagery from the Special Sensor Microwave Imager (85 GHz), GPM Microwave Imager (89 GHz), Advanced Microwave Scanning Radiometer 2 (89 GHz), and the Special Sensor Microwave Imager/Sounder (91 GHz) from the North Atlantic, Northeast Pacific, and Northwest Pacific basins. This imagery is binned to facilitate detection of common patterns for TCs of similar size and estimated intensity. Multiple techniques are applied to explore potential relationships between brightness temperature values and TC intensity, and aircraft reconnaissance data in the Atlantic basin are used for verification. This analysis provides the foundation for a new method to estimate TC intensity when aircraft data are unavailable.
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