Sensitivity of NCEP GFS Forecast of Hurricane Sandy to Model Biases

Thursday, 18 December 2014: 8:15 AM
Fanglin Yang, NOAA College Park, GCWMB/EMC/NCEP/NWS, College Park, MD, United States
Hurricane Sandy was the most destructive hurricane of the 2012 Atlantic hurricane season. It developed from a tropical depression on October 22 and became a Category three storm at its peak intensity on October 25. Early on October 29 Sandy became a post-tropical cyclone with hurricane-force winds and made landfall along the New Jersey seashores. While all NWP models correctly predicted that the storm will strike the New Jersey Seashore within 72 hours of its landfall, most models struggled to predict its path at longer forecast lead times. The United States GFS (Global Forecast Systems) predicted a northeast instead of northwest path from the forecast cycles before October 25 and a path biased toward the north from the cycles before October 27. This study investigates the impact of GFS biases in environmental flow and surface forcing on the predicted Sandy storm path and intensity. A set of sensitivity experiments were carried out to explore the cause of forecast biases. In particular, the sensitivity of forecasts to model resolution and different physics parameterization options were examined.