An Operational Multiscale Hurricane Forecasting System

Gopalakrishnan, S. G.; Bacon, David P.; Ahmad, Nash'at N.; Boybeyi, Zafer; Dunn, Thomas J.; Hall, Mary S.; Jin, Yi; Lee, Pius C. S.; Mays, Douglas E.; Madala, Rangarao V.; Sarma, Ananthakrishna; Turner, Mark D.; Wait, Timothy R.
July 2002
Monthly Weather Review;Jul2002, Vol. 130 Issue 7, p1830
Academic Journal
The Operational Multiscale Environment model with Grid Adaptivity (OMEGA) is an atmospheric simulation system that links the latest methods in computational fluid dynamics and high-resolution gridding technologies with numerical weather prediction. In the fall of 1999, OMEGA was used for the first time to examine the structure and evolution of a hurricane (Floyd, 1999). The first simulation of Floyd was conducted in an operational forecast mode; additional simulations exploiting both the static as well as the dynamic grid adaptation options in OMEGA were performed later as part of a sensitivity–capability study. While a horizontal grid resolution ranging from about 120 km down to about 40 km was employed in the operational run, resolutions down to about 15 km were used in the sensitivity study to explicitly model the structure of the inner core. All the simulations produced very similar storm tracks and reproduced the salient features of the observed storm such as the recurvature off the Florida coast with an average 48-h position error of 65 km. In addition, OMEGA predicted the landfall near Cape Fear, North Carolina, with an accuracy of less than 100 km up to 96 h in advance. It was found that a higher resolution in the eyewall region of the hurricane, provided by dynamic adaptation, was capable of generating better-organized cloud and flow fields and a well-defined eye with a central pressure lower than the environment by roughly 50 mb. Since that time, forecasts were performed for a number of other storms including Georges (1998) and six 2000 storms (Tropical Storms Beryl and Chris, Hurricanes Debby and Florence, Tropical Storm Helene, and Typhoon Xangsane). The OMEGA mean track error for all of these forecasts of 101, 140, and 298 km at 24, 48, and 72 h, respectively, represents a significant improvement over the National Hurricane Center (NHC) 1998 average of 156, 268, and 374 km, respectively. In a direct comparison with the GFDL model, OMEGA...


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