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NOAA's Hurricane Research Division (HRD)
Numerical Modeling Group

Latest development:
NOAA's High-resolution HWRF Basin-scale Model

The animation shows a 27:09:3km-resolution, multiply-nested, 5-days forecast of Hurricanes DANIELLE06L, EARL07L, and FRANK09E. A pair of 09:03km-resolution moving nests follow each storm during the simulation. Forecast tracks are shown in gray, observed tracks in black. The animation is presented in Google Maps. Visit our Gallery for more samples.


Tropical cyclone track forecasts have dramaticaly improved in recent years due to the advancements in scientific fields such as:

  • High speed computers;
  • High-resolution numerical models;
  • High quality observations.
However, much room is left for improvement in the area of tropical cyclone intensity, structure and rainfall predictions. At the heart of this complex intensity prediction problem lies the phenomena of Rapid Intensity (RI) change in tropical cyclones, which is recognized by the meteorological community as one of the most complex facets of the intensity prediction problem.

The Weather Research and Forecasting (WRF) model is a general purpose mesoscale modeling system that was developed at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's (NOAA) National Center for Environmental Protection (NCEP) to facilitate collaborative, world-wide, multi-institutional, advanced weather research. A version of the WRF model called NOAA's HWRF modeling system was developed by NCEP in 2006 for the specific purpose of hurricane forecasting (Gopalakrishnan et al, 2006). In 2007, NOAA's HWRF model was officially adopted by the National Hurricane Center (NHC) as one of its main numerical guidance models.

Since then, the Numerical Modeling Group of NOAA's Hurricane Research Division (HRD), located at the Atlantic Oceanographic & Meteorological Laboratory (AOML), has greatly advanced NOAA's HWRF model. One of the group's most recent accomplishments is the development of the High-resolution HWRF model, the first 3km-resolution regional model to be officially adopted and run operationally by the NHC at the start of the 2012 hurricane season. The High-resolution HWRF model was developed by the AOML/HRD Numerical Modeling Group through state-of-the-art research involving the following key elements:

  1. High-resolution numerical model developments;
  2. Advancements to physical parameterizations for hurricane models based on observations;
  3. And above all, advancements in the basic understanding of hurricane processes.

In collaboration with NCEP's Environmental Modeling Center (EMC), and with the vital support of NOAA's Hurricane Forecast Improvement Project (HFIP), the AOML/HRD Numerical Modeling Group is fully committed for years to come to the development and further advancement of NOAA's HWRF modeling system.


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