Evaluating Atlantic tropical cyclone track error distributions based on forecast confidence
Hauke, Matthew D.
Harr, Patrick A.
Elsberry, Russell L.
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A new Tropical Cyclone (TC) surface wind speed probability product from the National Hurricane Center (NHC) takes into account uncertainty in track, maximum wind speed, and wind radii. A Monte Carlo (MC) model is used that draws from probability distributions based on historic track errors. In this thesis, distributions of forecast track errors conditioned on forecast confidence are examined to determine if significant differences exist in distribution characteristics. Two predictors are used to define forecast confidence: the Goerss Predicted Consensus Error (GPCE) and the Global Forecast System (GFS) ensemble spread. The distributions of total-, along-, and crosstrack errors from NHC official forecasts are defined for low, average, and high forecast confidence. Also, distributions of the GFS ensemble mean total-track errors are defined based on similar confidence levels. Standard hypothesis testing methods are used to examine distribution characteristics. Using the GPCE values, significant differences in nearly all track error distributions existed for each level of forecast confidence. The GFS ensemble spread did not provide a basis for statistically different distributions. These results suggest that the NHC probability model would likely be improved if the MC model would draw from distributions of track errors based on the GPCE measures of forecast confidence
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