John Gaughan's takeaway from Day 1 of meteorology summit

Findings surfaced regarding intensity forecasting

By John Gaughan - Chief meteorologist

JACKSONVIILE, Fla. - A variety of topics are on the menu this week at the 33rd annual Conference on Hurricanes and Tropical Meteorology held in Ponte Vedra.

The conference, organized by the American Meteorological Society, brings together hundreds of scientists and experts from 40 countries around the world.

Over 100 speakers will discuss their research before an audience of their peers, and their findings will be part of the operational forecasts over the next five to seven years.

Of all the topics coming up for discussion, most deal with the two basic fundamental questions everyone tends to ask about when it comes to hurricanes: Where's it going? And how bad is it going to be?

In terms of how researchers see the biggest hurricane questions, it's all about intensity and track forecasting.

Over the past seven years, high-end computing power has become widely available to hurricane researchers, allowing for greater experimentation on what makes a better forecast.

Recent research has shown that track forecasts aren't that dependent on resolution, whereas intensity forecasts rely heavily on resolution.

That may sound like a minor finding, but the reality is that this is extremely important for future modeling. Modelers are now developing forecast models that have extremely high resolution multi-nests models placed within basin size and global models.

Chew on that. Imagine having a model inside a model inside a model inside a model.

Here's the bottom line: There have been and likely will be much better intensity forecasts over the next decade.

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