Proposal For NHC to Issue the Tropical Cyclone Discussion (TCD) in Mixed Case Letter Format for the 2013 Hurricane Season
Tim Schott, NWS Tropical Cyclone Program Lead,301-713-1677 x122 27 Feb 3013 The National Weather Service (NWS) has been transitioning text products from using capital letters only to a more flexible policy allowing use of mixed case letters. In response to this transition, NHC asked NWSHQ if the Tropical Cyclone Discussion could transition to a mixed case letter format for the 2013 season. NHC would be the first NWS National Center to issue a product in mixed case format. Because the TCD is used by other nations, NHC consulted with international partners in WMO Region IV, and all feedback received from member nations, thus far, has been favorable concerning the proposed change. A mixed case example is attached.
Following the WG/HWSOR Meeting, NWS Headquarters will issue a Public Information Statement stating NHC is tentatively planning to issue one or more test TCDs in mixed case letter format in March 2013. If technical implementation for the change is completed at NHC, the test products are successfully disseminated, and internal and external feedback is favorable concerning the test products, then a recommendation will be brought forward to the WMO RA-IV Committee in April 2013 for NHC to implement this change for the 2013 hurricane season. Note that CPHC will not implement the change at this time for their TCD product.
Reports from the Air Force Hurricane Hunter aircraft indicate that the central pressure has dropped a little more, but so far, the maximum flight-level and SFMR-observed surface winds still do not quite support hurricane intensity. The current intensity is held at 60 kt pending additional observations from the Hurricane Hunters. Although the wind field remains rather broad and relatively flat, recent aircraft data suggest that the maximum winds are now occurring somewhat closer to the center over the northern semicircle of the cyclone. This would suggest that the inner core circulation is becoming better defined, and strengthening might be imminent. Upper-level outflow is well-established over the southern semicircle of the system, but central convection continues to fluctuate. The latter is presumably due to a continued intrusion of dry air into the core region. The statistical-dynamical guidance is a little lower than in previous runs, and the storm has only about 12-24 hours before moving inland. The official intensity forecast is just slightly lower than the previous one.
Center fixes from the aircraft indicate that the storm has wobbled on a generally westward course over the past few hours. This is believed to be temporary, however, and the longer-term motion estimate is about 305/10. The current and forecast steering regime are basically the same as in the previous package. Isaac is expected to move into a weakness in the subtropical ridge near the north-central Gulf coast, with some slowing of forward speed during the next couple of days as a ridge builds a little to the northwest of the cyclone. Later on, the system should turn northward and northeastward into the Ohio Valley region as it moves around the western periphery of a mid-level anticyclone.
Isaac is a large tropical cyclone. A DANGEROUS STORM SURGE, HEAVY RAINFALL, and STRONG WINDS extend well away from the center and are expected to affect a large portion of the northern Gulf coast. For this reason, it is important not to focus on the exact center location. The threat of heavy rainfall and flooding is also expected to spread inland over the Lower Mississippi Valley region during the next few days.
Forecast Positions and Maximum Winds
Init 28/0900Z 27.5N 88.1W 60 KT 70 MPH
12H 28/1800Z 28.5N 89.1W 70 KT 80 MPH
24H 29/0600Z 29.5N 90.1W 75 KT 85 MPH...Near the coast
IHC to forward to WMO RA-IV Committee for consideration, pending successful technical implementation, dissemination of test products in March 2013, and favorable feedback. If approved by the WMO RA-IV Committee, OS21 to issue Service Change Notice immediately after the WMO RA-IV Meeting, with the change effective May 15, 2013.
Submitter Date Submitted Discussion
Letter of Agreement (LOA) Between the 53 WRS and NOAH for the "Self Separation" of Hurricane Reconnaissance Aircraft While in the NAS Jorge Rivera, FAA Miami ARTCC, 305-716-1781
21 Feb 2013
The 53WRS and NOAA have developed a Letter of Agreement for procedures on the "self separation" of the TEAL/NOAA aircraft while in the NAS during hurricane reconnaissance missions. The LOA has been in the works for over two years and is currently in FAA legal office. Informational; request representative from HQ FAA brief status of LOA. (HQ FAA POC: William “Lynn” Fitchpatrick, South Team, Operations Support Group AJV-E22, Eastern Service Center, 404-305-5476, or Karen L Chiodini/AWA/FAA, AJV-E22, Airspace & Procedures South Team, email@example.com )
ACTION ITEMS FROM THE 66TH IHC (2012)
Submitter Submitted Discussion
(66th IHC) (10 Jan 2013)
Revise the wording for overall tropical cyclone MAX WIND location in the Remarks Section of the VORTEX message for the 2012 season (previously action item 21 from 65th IHC) NOAA/AOC – A. Barry Damiano
19 Jan 2012
The 2011 Interdepartmental Hurricane Conference approved an action item to provide the bearing and range (rather than the quadrant) when reporting maximum winds in the Remarks section of the Vortex Data Message. The old and new formats are as listed below:
MAX FLT LVL WIND 77 KTS N QUAD 1234Z
MAX OUTBOUND FLT LVL WIND 77 KTS N QUAD 1234Z
MAX OUTBOUND AND MAX FLT LVL WIND 77 KTS N QUAD 1234Z
MAX FLT LVL WIND 77 KTS 357/12 1234Z
MAX OUTBOUND FLT LVL WIND 77 KTS 357/12 1234Z
MAX OUTBOUND AND MAX FLT LVL WIND 77 KTS 357/12 1234Z
In addition, via subsequent discussions NHC, AOC, and the 53WRS agreed that the reference to “any portion of the storm” in NHOP Table 5-2 Item P, will refer to an octant (i.e., 337.5-22.5 degrees, 22.5-67.5 degrees, etc.). Table 5-2 will require a wording change to reflect this.
From the 66th IHC, this item remained OPEN. AF and NOAA agreed to keep item open until the 53WRS is able to make software adjustments; implementation delayed until 2013.
53 WRS completed software changes. NHC, AOC, and 53 WRS concurred with NWS/OS21 issuing
Service Change Notice with effective date of 15 May 2013. Next steps are for the Exec Sec to amend NHOP for 2013, as applicable, and then forward info to WMO RA-IV and RA-V committees for considerations.
Title Submitter Submitted Discussion
10 Jan 2013
Use of the “EYE” Remark in TEMP DROP Code 53 WRS (AFRC)
31 Jan 2012
Some dropsonde operators use the word “EYE” in remarks of all sondes released in the center of a cyclone. Since there are often multiple sondes released in and around a storm, “EYE” flags this is the sonde dropped in the center, and not intended to indicate the storm has an actual eye. Other flight meteorologists have pointed to the definition of “EYE” used for the Vortex message (must have at least 50% of an eyewall), and do not use the EYE remark on the sonde unless the storm meets that criterion. An alternative is to create a standard remark, “CENTER” or “CTR” in the Aspen and AVAPS programs. Although the software change is relatively simple, it would require that OS21 would have to issue a Software Change Notice (SCN), and we do not have the desired 120-day lead time for this, according to Timothy Schott (NOAA). If the community wants to add a “CENTER” remark as an option, this should be proposed now for implementation in 2013. James Franklin (NHC) requested we use the word “EYE” for all center drops in the meantime (or forever, if no one objects to using “EYE” on a tropical depression/tropical storm dropsonde). Since “EYE” already exists as a standard remark, no change to the software or WMO code is required to continue using EYE this way, merely clarification and standardization of the use of the word.
Change para 220.127.116.11. Vortex fix data. …. Center dropsonde data will also be provided for scheduled fixes made at 850 hPa or above. The dropsonde will be released at the flight-level center coordinates (item BRAVO of the vortex data message), and may be marked with the word “EYE” in the 62626 section of the TEMP DROP code, for all tropical cyclones regardless of whether an actual eye exists.
Appendix N, Glossary, Pg N-3
Eye. The relatively calm center of the tropical cyclone that is more than one half surrounded by wall cloud. Note: when used in the remarks of a TEMP DROP message, it only means the sonde was released in the center of a tropical cyclone, regardless of whether an actual eye exists. For 2013, remove the above changes, and add:
Appendix G TEMP DROP CODES
Identifier: 62626 – This is the remarks section. Only the remarks EYE, CENTER, EYEWALL XXX, MXWNDBND, or RAINBAND will be used.
From 66th IHC, this item remains OPEN. At this time, there will be no changes to the 2012 NHOP. NOAA and the 53 WRS determined at the NOAA Dropsonde User Group meeting (Apr 2012) that the term "center" is the appropriate term to use. In order to ensure that there is enough time to conduct software changes as well as the desired 120-day lead time for the issuance of the Software Change Notice (SCN), the above proposal is tabled and will be addressed next year for changes to the 2013 NHOP.
NHC, AOC, and 53 WRS concurred with NWS/OS21 issuing a Service Change Notice with an effective date of 15 May 2013. Next step is for the Exec Sec to amend NHOP for 2013 as applicable.
Title Submitter Submitted Discussion
Coding Banded Eyes on the VDM 53 WRS (AFRC)
31 Jan 2012
The standard format for coding a radar eye on the Vortex Data Message (VDM) allows for three choices: “Circular”, “Elliptical”, and “Concentric” eyes, along with the diameter of the eye. This assumes the classic, donut-shaped eyewall. However, a spiral-shaped, banding eye is relatively common, and difficult to describe under the existing choices. Would the Hurricane Specialists find it useful to describe the eye as “SPIRAL BAND” or “BANDING EYE” in part LIMA of the VDM, in place of the words “CLOSED WALL” or “OPEN XX”?
Change Table 5-2, Item L (Lima).
Only report if at least 50 percent of the center has an eyewall, otherwise enter NA.
Closed wall--if the center has 100 percent coverage with no eyewall weakness.
Open XX--if the center has 50 percent or more but less than 100 percent coverage. State the direction of the eyewall weakness. Spiral Band—Report Item Juliet with the best approximation of the shape/diameter of the inner core.
Accepted recommendation for 2012 NHOP. The 2012 NHOP was updated on 14 May 2012, but this item will remain OPEN for the following:
AFRC to explore and report on options and plans to deliver to NOAA graphic imagery when flight concludes.
Long term plan is to assemble representatives of relevant organizations to define requirements for NOAA and AF aircraft, discuss next steps, review results, and make recommendation to include incorporating these changes into future NHOPs (AFRC, AOC, NWS).
OFCM explores funding opportunities. (Updated on Apr 30, 2012 - no short-term funding available.)
Title Submitter Submitted Discussion
(As of 3/5/2012) Status
(As of 5/1/2012
(As of 11/19/2012)
DoD, Joint Staff (JS) Requests NHOP Coordination with Office of Secretary of Defense (OSD) DoD, Joint Staff (JS), J4, Distribution Division (Larry Kinder, 703-571-9891 (DSN 671-9891), KinderL@js.pentagon.mil)
17 Jan 2012
Request NHOP be vetted through the Office of the Secretary of Defense (OSD) to allow validation of recommended changes. It is important that the interagency operations plan reflect current authorities and guidance.
Include OSD in future annual NHOP coordination.
At the 66th IHC, this item was DEFFERED due to further coordination with Joint Staff required.
Per 1 May 2012 phone conversation with Mr. Larry Kinder (JCS J4 DD) and Col William Carle (NOAA Military Liaison), on the DOD side, the plan is to staff the 2012 NHOP with the OSD/AT&L, C3 & Cyber (Ms. Marsha Karose), once the revised MOA is signed.
Requested 2012 NHOP coordination with OSD delayed, awaiting DOD signatures on revised MOA. USTRANSCOM corrected para 3.J. of revised MOA, and then passed to AFRC for concurrence/signature. See 66th IHC action item #14 for additional details.
Title Submitter Submitted Discussion
(As of 3/5/2012) Status
(As of 7/6/2012)
Issuance Of Invitational Travel Orders (ITO) DoD, Joint Staff (JS), J4, Distribution Division (Larry Kinder, 703-571-9891 (DSN 671-9891), KinderL@js.pentagon.mil)
17 Jan 2012
Based on review of 2011 NHOP, recommend paragraph 2.5.4 be replaced with the edited version below. Unable to find standing authority for AFRC to provide non-reimbursable transportation. In the MOA, appendix F of the NHOP, the authority cited is with DOC, which appears to make this a DOC mission. Additionally, Joint Federal Travel Regulations don’t support the issuance of ITO to U.S. government employees.
Current NHOP Wording
2.5.4.The synergy created by all participants traveling together on the 53rd WRS WC-130 aircraft is essential to efficiently accomplishing the overall objectives of the mission while exercising fiscal responsibility. AFRC will fly the mission and issue invitational travel orders (ITO) on a noninterference, non-reimbursable basis for: the Director of the National Hurricane Center (NHC) of the National Weather Service (NWS) National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), U.S. Department of Commerce (DOC); the NHC Hurricane Warning Program staff, NWS staff, other U.S. officials, and the media.
Recommended NHOP Wording
2.5.4.The synergy created by all participants traveling together on the 53rd WRS WC-130 aircraft is essential to efficiently accomplishing the overall objectives of the mission while exercising fiscal responsibility. AFRC may support the mission on a reimbursable, non-interference basis for: U.S. Department of Commerce (DOC) and National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) staff, and other U.S. officials as appropriate. Media support may be provided within appropriate public affairs guidelines.
At the 66th IHC, the item DEFFERED due to further coordination with Joint Staff required.
Per 1 May 2012 phone conversation with Mr. Larry Kinder (JCS J4 DD) and Col William Carle (NOAA Military Liaison), since the current MOA (singed in 2000) lacks guidance/authority with respect to ITOs, the plan is wait for the signing of the revised MOA since it includes the appropriate verbiage (para 3.g.(3)). Once the revised MOA is approved, then the 2012 NHOP will be staffed with OSD/AT&L, C3 & Cyber (Ms. Marsha Karose). The revised MOA currently being worked allows any party to request additional support through the Economy Act to include passenger or cargo transportation for other than 53 WRS personnel or assistance with projects or programs other than weather reconnaissance and surveillance activities. As of this date, the MOA has yet to be signed. Progress on this action item is linked to above 66th IHC action item #13 as well as the signing of the revised MOA.
Request 53 WRS Mission Support for Eastward Expansion of Tropical Cyclone Reconnaissance to 52.5W NOAA/NWS/NHC (James Franklin)
By prior agreement among the WMO RA-IV, NHC, the 53WRS, and AOC, the eastern boundary to initiate tropical cyclone reconnaissance has been moved, requiring a modification to the NHOP, page 5-9, paragraph 18.104.22.168.1. Change the eastern boundary of Atlantic reconnaissance fix requests from 55°W to 52.5°W. This change is consistent with the recent change to extend the watch and warning lead times.
Surveillance missions conducted by NOAA/AOC and the 53WRS are intended to provide environmental data to the numerical guidance and to NHC forecasters in time to influence the watch/warning decision process for potential land-falling hurricanes. The 12-h increases in lead time associated with the new watch/warning definitions mean that surveillance missions will generally need to be tasked 12 h earlier than in previous years.
A tasking for a mission takeoff for the following afternoon can be expected when the storm at 1200 UTC is within about 102 h of projected landfall. This timeline gets the mission data into the models that the forecaster sees roughly 42 h later, or 60 h prior to landfall. While this is a general guideline, actual requests for surveillance flights in any particular situation may occur either earlier or later than this, as conditions warrant.
Change NHOP, page 5-9, paragraph 22.214.171.124.1 as indicated above.
Two actions resulted from discussions:
NHC will use climatological data to estimate the average annual additional support that would be levied on the 53rd WRS to support the Atlantic reconnaissance fix requests if the eastern boundary moved from 55°W to 52.5°W. Forward the information as follows: TO: Col Brian “Bear” Kraemer (22 AF A5A8) (Brian.Kraemer@dobbins.af.mil) CC: Lt Col Rob Stanton (403 OG/CD) (Robert.Stanton@keesler.af.mil) Mark Welshinger (OFCM) (Mark.Welshinger@noaa.gov)
Col Kraemer will forward the information provided by NHC to Higher Headquarters to determine if moving the eastern boundary from 55°W to 52.5°W is supportable.
NHC forwarded the climatological data to Col Kraemer and the other addressees on 3/15/2010.
AFRC to elevate for high-level decision; AFRC will support for 2011 hurricane season, resources permitting.
Lt Col Pierce (53rd WRS/DO) will pick up where Col Kraemer left off and elevate request for high-level decision. Until official approval can be coordinated, Lt Col Pierce mentioned that AFRC has agreed to extend support of the 53rd WRS supporting the eastern boundary movement through the 2012 hurricane season (resources permitting). Therefore, in regards to this issue, the NHOP remains unchanged.
At the 66th IHC, the 403 WG/CC, 403 OG/CC, and the 53 WRS/DO agreed that the 2012 NHOP would reflect the 53 WRS supporting the eastward boundary movement (from 55W to 52.5 W), as long as resources are permitting. This action CLOSES the 64th IHC action item #10, once the 2012 NHOP is updated. The 2012 NHOP was updated on 14 May 2012. However, this action item (66th IHC AI#16) was OPENED in order to initiate actions needed to eliminate the explicit reference to resources. It was suggested that the NHC draft a formal request, for these resources, to be sent from the Director of the NWS to the USTRANSCOM J3 and AFRC.
ACTION ITEMS: FROM 65th IHC (2011)
Reconnaissance Support for Development of In-Situ Ocean Data Base for use in Initializing/Validating Navy and NOAA Operational Air-Sea Coupled Tropical Cyclone Prediction Models Peter Black, Naval Research Lab, Marine Meteorology Division and SAIC, Inc.
Overcoming earlier restrictions in obtaining ocean thermal structure data via AXBT deployment, NRL has developed a Mobile Ocean Observing System (MOOS) consisting of two portable processing-receiving-recording units for use on WC-130J reconnaissance aircraft and demonstrated the capability for real-time processing and transmission of ocean thermal profiles, accomplishing data ingest into Navy TC and ocean prediction models. A supply of several thousand de-mil’d AXBT probes has been identified for future use at minimal cost for shipping and fumigation. Deployment of 1,000 of these probes over 2 years has demonstrated an overall 92% success rate. Over 100 additional AXBTs were deployed from operational reconnaissance flights in 2011 with similar results. The capability to transmit AXBT data in real time for real-time QC and assimilation into COAMPS-TC was successfully demonstrated. In 2012, the Navy coupled COAMPS-TC model, in addition to NOAA coupled models, will be run operationally, requiring ocean as well as atmospheric data inputs for initialization and validation.
53rd WRS is requested to support Navy TC coupled operational numerical model forecast development by deploying AXBT data during operational TC missions tasked by the National Hurricane Center on a not-to-interfere basis with normal reconnaissance operations for a minimum of two additional seasons on a trial basis. AFRC is requested to support crew augmentation by one addition loadmaster with dropsonde and AXBT deployment training.
NOAA/NCEP/EMC is planning on operational implementation of their regional hurricane model (HWRF) coupled to HYCOM for the 2012 hurricane season. This coupled modeling system has advanced real-time ocean DA capabilities within the system. EMC and NRL are designing a work plan in collaboration with AOML and RSMAS to demonstrate impact of assimilating AXBT datasets (collected during past TC research missions and potential future deployment of AXBTs using operational and research flights of opportunity from both WC-130J and WP-3D aircraft) on hurricane intensity forecasts using their respective coupled models. NRL will work with the 53rd WRS to refine WC-130J AXBT launch and data acquisition procedures for use on requested hurricane reco flights on a not-to-interfere basis with routine mission requirements.
The first year of the hurricane ABXT demo project mandated at the 65th Interdepartmental Hurricane Conference Working Group for Hurricanes and Winter Storms has been completed. A total of 107 AXBTs were deployed and transmitted in near-time from WC-130J aircraft on 12 flights in 4 storms, including Hurricane Irene where 40 ABXTs were deployed. A total of 85 AXBTs passed the quality control tests and were ingested into the Stennis ocean model and the coupled COAMPS-TC model. Initial model runs for Emily and Irene showed that including AXBT data resulted in a significant change in initial ocean analyses with a small impact on intensity prediction.
Item remains OPEN at 66th IHC. The 53 WRS received approval for the next 2 seasons. Work will ultimately require significant aircraft upgrade (potential modification to launcher and receiver equipment, pending requirement from NHC). Estimated 3000 AXBTs remaining. Need to pursue additional sensors if research warrants continued usage. Explore deployment strategy for operations. Progress and results will be presented during the NOAA Hurricane Conference in December 2012 and the 67th IHC in 2013.
Continued analysis of 2011 cases (Emily and Irene) confirmed that AXBTs significantly increased the accuracy of the initial ocean analyses (in both NCOM and HYCOM), resulted in slight improvements to coupled model track and intensity forecasts in 33% of coupled COAMPS-TC data denial studies, and provided a mechanism by which to identify possible errors in SHIPS intensity forecasts.
During the summer of 2012, 294 AXBTs were dropped in 23 flights in 3 storms (and a training flight), including 80 AXBTs in 7 back-to-back WC-130J flights into TS Ernesto and 130 in 12 WC-130J flights into Hurricane Isaac. Of these, 248 were accepted into the Stennis ocean models and uploaded to the GTS in near-real-time. Initial analysis of the Isaac case (using the NCODA adjoint) revealed that AXBTs were the most valuable ocean observation type in reducing error to the HYCOM model between 24 August - 04 September 2012. Coupled model data denial studies are in progress as is a SHIPS intensity analysis. Coordination is in progress with HFIP Air-Sea group to quantify AXBT impact and with HRD / AOC to improve operations planning and data distribution.
ACTION ITEMS: FROM 62ND IHC (2008)
Title Submitter Discussion
(As of 11/19/2012)
Update Memorandum of Agreement between United States Air Force Reserves and NOAA NOAA
The Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) between the U.S. Air Force Reserves and NOAA was last updated in 2000, seven years ago. AOC recently received a couple of phone calls from other DOD agencies inquiring about revision and update to this MOA.
Request Office of the Federal Coordinator for Meteorology (OFCM) to facilitate the update of the MOA.
MOA has been updated and completely reorganized. NOAA/NWS has signed the MOA (Dr. Jack Hayes); AFRC is reviewing the MOA. AFRC still has not signed the MOA.
The Joint Staff is staffing a tasking to AFRC to take action on the MOA.
The MOA is now at USTRANSCOM, which will be the DoD signatory element.
USTRANSCOM working with AFRC to staff to signatory element.
USTRANSCOM internal coordination still underway.
USTRANSCOM internal coordination still underway.
At the 66th IHC (5 March 2012) a sidebar meeting took place, which resulted in the following:
This action item remains OPEN. USTRANSCOM is awaiting AFRC MOA signature before commencing formal signatory coordination with the NWS.
As an outcome of the sidebar meeting, it was determined that federal agency representatives need more time to review, discuss, and work solutions within their respective agencies before the annual WG/HWSOR meeting. Therefore, the WG/HWSOR Executive Secretary will solicit action items from the working group members by mid-December of each year instead of the former January-February timeframe. NOAA has agreed to try to provide its action items in December. The WG/HWSOR Executive Secretary will then consolidate and distribute action items NLT 60 days prior to the annual working group meeting. This will give members more time to coordinate, work solutions, obtain consensus, and request leadership approval (if needed) within their respective agencies before the annual working group meeting.
Awaiting DOD signatures on revised MOA. USTRANSCOM corrected para 3.J. of revised MOA, and then passed to AFRC for concurrence/signature.