The International Best Track Archive for Climate Stewardship (IBTrACS)

Kenneth R. Knapp, Michael C. Kruk, David H. Levinson, Howard J. Diamond, Charles J. Neumann
2010 Bulletin of The American Meteorological Society - (BAMS)  
In combining track and intensity estimates from many sources, this centralized collection of tropical cyclone data provides a more complete global climatology and insight into the data uncertainty-a critical consideration for climate trending. G iven the significant impact of tropical cyclones (TCs) on human life, property, and ecology, it is understandable that much research has gone into understanding their distribution, frequency, and intensity around the world and how climate change might
more » ... mate change might affect these parameters (e.g., CCSP 2008; Chan 2006, 2005a; Klotzbach 2006; Landsea 2005; Webster et al. 2005). Many storm characteristics help to define how an individual storm impacts life and property, such as maximum sustained wind (MSW), the distance at which various wind speeds extend outward from the storm center, rainfall patterns, minimum sea level pressure (MSLP), and storm translation speed. Despite the many facets of a storm, much of the tropical cyclone data worldwide consists of the best estimates of storm position and intensity at 6-hourly intervals only, which are termed best-track data. Optimally, best-track data are the result of postseason reanalysis of a storm's position 1 and intensity from all available data-for example, ship, surface, and satellite observations (although the level of reanalysis will vary by agency). However, with advances in observing system technologies, operational procedures, and scientific knowledge, the historical record of best tracks is inhomogeneous by construction. Despite the obvious need, there has been typically little to no reanalysis of best-track data based on new understanding. However, efforts are underway in the North Atlantic (Landsea et al. 2008) and the South Indian Oceans (Levinson et al. 2010, hereafter LDK) to  1 From the National Hurricane Center Online Glossary, best-track data are "a subjectively-smoothed representation of a tropical cyclone's location and intensity over its lifetime..." and "... generally will not reflect the erratic motion implied by connecting individual center fix positions." Given this subjectivity, the amount of spatial smoothing will also vary among agencies. Punch cards were once used to encode the earliest hurricane datasets. See the sidebar "A brief history of global tropical cyclone best-track data" on p. 365 for more information. AFFILIATIONS: Knapp anD levinson-NOAA/National Climatic
doi:10.1175/2009bams2755.1 fatcat:nq4qdtjtgbccrhmbodrnmpnbv4