There were many models used to forecast Hurricane Lane’s possible tracks, but one model created by a UH atmospheric sciences professor was spot on.
The most accurate forecast model for Hurricane Lane turned out to be the Global Forecast System or GFS model. A professor and his Ph.D student took this model a step further and created their own, with an adjustment.
They changed the initial conditions for the model.
“The initial condition we have is just let the model to speed up the vortex,” said Yi Leng Chen, UH professor of atmospheric sciences. “We find a way to put a hurricane, detail and structure and intensity inside a model before we run it.”
“We try techniques that make it close to the intensity that has been observed and a structure that is very close,” said Chen.
This is something that other models don’t do because of the difficulty of determining the intensity and winds of a hurricane.
Professor Pao-Shin Chu says that determining the intensity of a hurricane is one of the hardest things to get a read on.
“Hurricane intensity is difficult, because how do you know by the time it reaches north Pacific, even the Hawaiian islands, it will be a tropical storm?,” said Pao-Shin Chu, Hawaii state climatologist.
Chen’s model, called “Typhoon Initialization” or TYIMI, may not be used to determine the track of Hurricane Olivia because, he says, they don’t have a large enough computer at UH to run the model.
However, the National Weather Service says that all the forecast models are pretty close together.
“Initially over the next few days, there’s agreement in the track forecast, by the time that it gets this far west, theres more uncertainty that comes into play,” said John Bravender, warning coordination meteorologist.
The “Typhoon Initialization” model is currently being tested at the Weather Bureau at Taipei. He says they are currently testing the model with their current one. He says they may even use the TYIMI model for next year’s hurricane season.