The JPL Tropical Cyclone Information System – a new paradigm for integration of models and observations to enhance the use of remote sensing data for hurricane research and forecast improvements

Monday, 15 December 2014
Svetla M Hristova-Veleva1, Mark Boothe2, Sundararaman Gopalakrishnan3, Ziad S Haddad1, Brian Knosp1, Bjorn Lambrigtsen1, Peggy Li1, Michael t Montgomery2, Noppasin Niamsuwan1, Tsae-Pyng J Shen1, Vijay Tallapragada4, Simone Tanelli1 and Joseph Turk1, (1)NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, CA, United States, (2)Naval Postgraduate School, Monterey, CA, United States, (3)Atlantic Oceanographic and Meteorological Laboratory, Hurricane Research Division, Miami, FL, United States, (4)NOAA College Park, College Park, MD, United States
There are still many unanswered questions about the physical processes that determine hurricane genesis and evolution. Furthermore, a significant amount of work remains to be done in validating and improving the hurricane models.

A major goal of NASA’s hurricane science research program is to bring a wealth of satellite and airborne observations to bear on addressing these outstanding issues. Despite the significant amount of satellite data, they are still underutilized in hurricane research and operations, due to their complexity and volume.

To meet this need, we are developing the JPL Tropical Cyclone Information System (TCIS) to facilitate the inter-comparison of models and observations by bringing them into a common system and developing online tools for joint analysis and visualization.

This NASA/ESTO/AIST funded project aims to develop an interactive near-real-time (NRT) portal with the goal to reduce barriers to timely delivery of satellite and model products to increase the understanding of the hurricane processes and the accuracy of their forecasts. The framework of timely data discovery, ingestion, visualization and analysis tools that we are developing presents a new prototype for integration of models and observations.

In this presentation we will start by describing the scientific questions. We will then outline our approach to providing fusion of models and observations. We will focus on the main components of our system: i) timely collection of NRT observations from a multitude of satellite instruments; ii) projecting the model forecast into the observational space by using instrument simulators (e.g. NASA Earth Observing System Simulator Suite, NEOS3) to compute synthetic observations (e.g. microwave brightness temperatures) from the model fields for a more direct comparison to the satellite and aircraft data; iii) development of on-line analysis tools; iv) visualization of highly complex systems that allows for user-driven interrogation of models and observations.

An important focus of the presentation will be the illustration of how our system can be used to evaluate several models (HWRF, GFS) by applying the analysis tools to several hurricanes observed during the 2013/2014 seasons. Finally, we will outline our future plans.