A Dynamical-Statistical Approach to Forecasting Tropical Cyclogenesis in the Western North Pacific
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In the 1970s, Dr. Bill Gray proposed that tropical cyclone (TC) (strong TCs in the Atlantic are known as hurricanes) formation was strongly influenced by several large scale environmental factors (LSEFs): high sea surface temperature, low vertical wind shear, upward moving air, positive vorticity, and high humidity. Since then, observations of hundreds of storms have reinforced Gray’s findings, but with the caveat that the LSEFs are necessary but not sufficient for TC formation. Since its inception in 2007, Statistical Solutions LLC, in collaboration with the Naval Postgraduate School, has built upon these results to: 1. Test LSEFs for statistical significance 2. Develop a statistical model that relates the LSEFs to TC formation 3. Force the model with dynamical weather model forecasts of the LSEFs at leads ranging from 1 day to 90+ days to create probabilistic forecasts of TC formation 4. Evaluate those forecasts for skill In this paper, we discuss the process of significance testing of the predictor LSEFs, statistical model development, selection of optimal dynamical model outputs, and visualization of the outputs. We also show examples of TC formation forecasts at various leads, and close with a discussion of the challenges of forecast verification.
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