Ideas for Improving Hurricane Forecasts

Alexander E. MacDonald


Weather prediction improvements come from a balanced program of improved observations, improved understanding of phenomena, and improved numerical modeling. In addition to NOAA’s primary efforts in tropical storm prediction, there are efforts at Earth System Research Laboratory to make improvements in all three areas. In observing, the Unmanned Aircraft Systems program has been funded, and is making plans to test a variety of platforms for tropical storm observations. These include the use of small UAS like the Aerosonde which can sample the low levels of tropical storms, high altitude aircraft such as the Global Hawk and Zephyr which could stay above a storm for long periods, and the WISDOM Program which could optimally sample a large area around the storm. Improved understanding of the air-sea interface is an example of ESRL research. Finally, new modeling efforts include the FIM hydrostatic global model, plans between ESRL, GFDL and AOML to develop global nonhydrostatic models, and efforts to improve regional scale hurricane models.