Journal of the Meteorological Society of Japan. Ser. II
Online ISSN : 2186-9057
Print ISSN : 0026-1165
ISSN-L : 0026-1165
A Comparison Between SAR Wind Speeds and Western North Pacific Tropical Cyclone Best Track Estimates
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JOURNAL OPEN ACCESS Advance online publication

Article ID: 2024-031


 Spaceborne synthetic aperture radar (SAR) for measuring high winds is expected to reduce uncertainties in tropical cyclone (TC) intensity and structure estimation, yet the consistency of SAR observed winds equivalent to a 1-min sustained wind speed with the conventionally estimated 10-min maximum wind speed (Vmax10) remains to be assessed. This study compares SAR wind observations with western North Pacific best track estimates from the Japan Meteorological Agency (JMA) and the Joint Typhoon Warning Center (JTWC). Because SAR wind observations have a bias dependent on SAR incidence angle, a first order corrective term is proposed and used to correct SAR-derived maximum wind (SAR Vmax) tentatively. After this correction, conversion of SAR Vmax into SAR Vmax10 with Dvorak conversion tables revealed a mean difference between SAR Vmax10 and JMA Vmax10 (ΔVmax10) of −0.1 m s−1 and a mean absolute difference of 4.8 m s−1. ΔVmax10 is found to be correlated with current intensities and future intensity changes. Also, comparison of the JMA best track 50-kt wind radius (R50) with SAR wind speeds suggests that R50 is systematically underestimated. Aside from the SAR wind limitations, possible reasons for the observed discrepancies between SAR wind observations and best track estimates include biases in the Dvorak analysis and conventional surface wind products. Further accumulation of SAR wind observations with appropriate bias correction in the future is expected to contribute to a comprehensive evaluation and improvement of conventional Vmax estimation methods, which could also be useful to verify TC intensity forecasts.

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© The Author(s) 2024. This is an open access article published by the Meteorological Society of Japan under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International (CC BY 4.0) license.
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