8000 Ways to Model a Vortex: A Review of Hindcast Wind Field Methodologies

Wednesday, 17 December 2014
Jessica Sweeney, RPS Group, Bristol, BS32, United Kingdom
Hindcasts of cyclonic wind fields are crucial for extreme analysis in the oil and gas industry. Recent scientific developments have increased the number of parameterization options for tropical cyclone vortices, leading to well over 8000 permutations of model choices. Which is best? Also problematic is how best to blend modelled vortex winds into a global wind model (such as the Climate Forecast System Reanalysis (CFSR)) in order to resolve tropical cyclones to sufficient detail for wave modelling. Standard blending schemes can leave a ‘moat’ between the vortex and the CFSR circulation (see Figure 1 from TC Olivia 1996).

Using a 35-year track database from the Australian Bureau of Meteorology, this study assesses model configurations and blending schemes against the most extensive measured meteorological dataset in the north-east Indian Ocean (largely commercial-in-confidence). The Holland profile models of 1980 and 2008 are two starting points, with other options examined for radius to maximum wind calculations, pressure-wind relationships, averaging periods, atmospheric profiles, gust factors, and asymmetry methods. Once a vortex is modelled, the winds are then fitted to the radius of gales and blended into the CFSR before further verification. Initial results support recent theoretical developments by Hu et al (2012), with additional results that call for a new asymmetry method and the separation of pressure and wind field modelling.