Navy Transitions Tropical Cyclone Prediction System to OperationsBy Daniel Parry | July 3, 2013
Developed by the U.S. Naval Research Laboratory (NRL) Marine Meteorology Division located in Monterey, Calif., the Navy's Fleet Numerical Meteorology and Oceanography Center (FNMOC) has entered the Coupled Oceanographic and Atmospheric Mesoscale Prediction System-Tropical Cyclone (COAMPS-TC) into full-scale operations, June 6, 2013.COAMPS-TC: Real-time forecast of radar reflectivity (114-hour forecast valid at 0200 UTC Oct. 30, 2012) for Hurricane Sandy. Recorded landfall for post-tropical cyclone (Sandy) occurred Oct. 29, 2012, at about 2330 UTC near Brigantine, New Jersey, just to the northeast of Atlantic City with maximum sustained winds of 70 knots.
(Photo: U.S. Naval Research Laboratory)
The operational transition of COAMPS-TC comes at a strategic time for the typhoon/hurricane season that began on June first, said Dr. James Doyle, head, Mesoscale Modeling Section, Marine Meteorology Division. COAMPS-TC will improve tropical cyclone forecasts issued by Defense Department and U.S. government forecasters in both the Pacific and Atlantic oceans and will enhance the safety of ships, aircraft and personnel, and civilian populations in coastal regions.
Focusing on the development and transition of a fully coupled air-ocean-wave prediction system, the COAMPS-TC model includes nonhydrostatic atmospheric dynamics, multiple nested moving grids that follow the center of the storm, and improved boundary layer and cloud physical parameterizations.
The forecasts and products produced by COAMPS-TC will be used by the Department of Defense (DoD) Joint Typhoon Warning Center (JTWC) and National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) National Hurricane Center (NHC) to explicitly predict the intensity, dynamics, and location of tropical cyclones and already COAMPS-TC has produced several operational numerical guidances for tropical cyclones.
In testing and validation over the last two years, COAMPS-TC has proven to provide one of the most skillful TC intensity models available to forecasters. Because of COAMPS-TC's significantly improved capability, both JTWC and NHC have used its forecast products in 2012, well before the official transition date.
For the 2013 Atlantic hurricane season, forecasters at NOAA's Climate Prediction Center have predicted a 70 percent likelihood of 13 to 20 named storms—sustained winds of 39 mph or higher—with seven to 11 becoming hurricanes with sustained winds of 74 mph or higher, and three to six major (Category 3 or higher) hurricanes having sustained winds of 111 mph or higher.