Predictions of 2010's Tropical Cyclones Using the GFS and Ensemble-Based Data Assimilation Methods
Experimental ensemble predictions of tropical cyclone (TC) tracks from the ensemble Kalman filter (EnKF) using the Global Forecast System (GFS) model were recently validated for the 2009 Northern Hemisphere hurricane season by Hamill et al. A similar suite of tests is described here for the 2010 season. Two major changes were made this season: 1) a reduction in the resolution of the GFS model, from 2009’s T384L64 (~31 km at 25°N) to 2010’s T254L64 (~47 km at 25°N), and some changes in model physics; and 2) the addition of a limited test of deterministic forecasts initialized from a hybrid three-dimensional variational data assimilation (3D-Var)/EnKF method.
The GFS/EnKF ensembles continued to produce reduced track errors relative to operational ensemble forecasts created by the National Centers for Environmental Prediction (NCEP), the Met Office (UKMO), and the Canadian Meteorological Centre (CMC). The GFS/EnKF was not uniformly as skillful as the European Centre for Medium-Range Weather Forecasts (ECMWF) ensemble prediction system. GFS/EnKF track forecasts had slightly higher error than ECMWF at longer leads, especially in the western North Pacific, and exhibited poorer calibration between spread and error than in 2009, perhaps in part because of lower model resolution. Deterministic forecasts from the hybrid were competitive with deterministic EnKF ensemble-mean forecasts and superior in track error to those initialized from the operational variational algorithm, the Gridpoint Statistical Interpolation (GSI). Pending further successful testing, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) intends to implement the global hybrid system operationally for data assimilation.