Tue Jun 26 2007 08:41 AM
Re: What am I Missing? / Katrina QuikScat Image

Ok, let me try

You said:

Very briefly, my summary of QuikScat's 'limitations':

1) QuikScat shows only tropical storm force winds; only up to 60 Kts.
2) There are often *many* hours elapsed between passes over any given storm.
3) The scan is often 'incomplete', depicting only a portion of the entire circulation.
4) Sometimes, the scan will miss the center of circulation entirely.

The main point I am trying to make here is that, if a 'significant' hurricane were to threaten a US coastline, even 3 days away, we'd have non-stop recon missions (or at least 6-hourly fixes) flying into it, which then provides a plethora of 'real-time' data to crank into the models used as a forecast aid, as you mentioned.

And that any 'contribution' of QuikScat in that situation is not very significant, in view of the *huge* amount of date coming in from the hurricane hunters.

In view of this, I just fail to realize or understand *WHY*, with the lack of QuikScat in this situation, NHC would have to widen it's watches/warnings for a coastline by as much as 16%? And the 'blind' statement just makes no sense to me at all.

But, all of this is more or less irreleveant because the storm is being affected by patterns of weather often thousands of miles away from where the storm currently is. The location and strength of the various high and low pressure areas around the storm are important because they steer the storm and in turn, each of these high and low areas interact with each other and affect where each other will move and the amount of movement and how much moisture and the temperature of the air that gets moved and how fast. All of this affects our hurricane which is just a small piece of the overall weather pattern, an important piece to those it hits, but still a small part overall. The forecasters need to know as much as possible about ALL of the players in the overall weather patterns and how they interact and the Quicksat provides much of the detail that is fed into the models that help the prediction processes that ultimately help predict where the hurricane will go. It isn't just the hurricane they are having to predict, it is the weather around the hurricane that affects its path, and rarely is the strength of these *other* high and low pressure areas producing more than good breezes, much less TS or higher storm winds. Thus, even though Quicksat might only show up to 60K winds, that is 99% of the winds of significance and certainly 99% of the significant data used to predict the overall world weather pattern movement that ultimately affects the hurricane.

I think that might be what you are missing. Losing the detail used for the predictions increases the inaccuracies in the models and ultimately the inaccuracies in the forecasting of the hurricanes, or so it seems to me.

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