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Scientists explore the potential for further improvements to tropical cyclone track forecasts

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IMAGE: Fengyun Satellite image of Typhoon Mysak which plowed into the Korean Peninsula in early September.
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Credit: National Satellite Meteorological Center of China Meteorological Administration

A recent study suggested that we have probably approached the limit of predictability for tropical cyclone (TC) track prediction. If that’s true, there’s little we can do to improve TC forecasts as an incorrect position affects the utility of all other guidance, including wind, precipitation, and storm surge guidance. This would be bad news for disaster prevention and mitigation.

“The reason some scientists ask whether the limit of predictability is near or has already been reached is that there’s a diminishing trend in the reduction of positional error in National Hurricane Center (NHC) tropical cyclone forecasts. From this, there seems to be little room for improvement,” explained Dr. Feifan Zhou, a scientist with the Institute of Atmospheric Physics at the Chinese Academy of

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