Parametric Modeling of Transitioning Cyclone Wind Fields for Risk Assessment Studies in the Western North Pacific
Journal of Applied Meteorology and Climatology
Probabilistic risk assessment systems for tropical cyclone hazards rely on large ensembles of model simulations to characterize cyclones tracks, intensities, and the extent of the associated damaging winds. Given the computational costs, the wind field is often modeled using parametric formulations that make assumptions that are based on observations of tropical systems (e.g., satellite, or aircraft reconnaissance). In particular, for the Northern Hemisphere, most of the damaging contribution
... assumed to be from the right of the moving cyclone, with the left-hand-side winds being much weaker because of the direction of storm motion. Recent studies have highlighted that this asymmetry assumption does not hold for cyclones undergoing extratropical transitions around Japan. Transitioning systems can exhibit damaging winds on both sides of the moving cyclone, with wind fields often characterized as resembling a horseshoe. This study develops a new parametric formulation of the extratropical transition phase for application in risk assessment systems. A compromise is sought between the need to characterize the horseshoe shape while keeping the formulation simple to allow for implementation within a risk assessment framework. For that purpose the tropical wind model developed by Willoughby et al. is selected as a starting point and parametric bias correction fields are applied to build the target shape. Model calibration is performed against a set of 37 extratropical transition cases simulated using the Weather Research and Forecasting Model. This newly developed parametric model of the extratropical transition phase shows an ability to reproduce wind field features observed in the western North Pacific Ocean while using only a restricted number of input parameters.