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Tropical Cyclone Track Forecasting
Linköping University, Department of Computer and Information Science. (MDA)ORCID iD: 0000-0002-3997-1088
2015 (English)In: Encyclopedia of Natural Hazards / [ed] Ramesh P. Singh, Taylor & Francis, 2015Chapter in book (Refereed)
Abstract [en]

Tropical cyclones are large-scale low-pressure systems that form over warm tropical and subtropical waters. These low-pressure systems are characterized by high-speed surface wind circulation, rotating spirals of thick clouds, heavy rain, and surges, the water masses sometimes reaching a height of 10 meters when they hit a coastline. Tropical cyclones are one of the most destructive meteorological disasters due to their high damaging power, both through strong winds and flooding. To minimize economic loss and to save human lives, meteorologists have developed a range of techniques for forecasting tropical cyclone track. The most common techniques utilize statistical and mathematical equations to integrate the movement pattern of historical tropical cyclones with the recently observed movement of the current tropical cyclone. Alternatively, forecasting techniques can focus on the forces responsible for tropical cyclone motion to produce a cyclone track forecast. Today, improved cyclone track forecasting techniques have enabled meteorological offices to warn residents in the affected areas before a tropical cyclone impact, and help to reduce the losses created by them.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Taylor & Francis, 2015.
Keyword [en]
Tropical cyclone motion, track prediction techniques, track prediction accuracy
National Category
Meteorology and Atmospheric Sciences
URN: urn:nbn:se:liu:diva-123197OAI: diva2:877264
Available from: 2015-12-06 Created: 2015-12-06 Last updated: 2016-01-13
In thesis
1. An Informed System Development Approach to Tropical Cyclone Track and Intensity Forecasting
Open this publication in new window or tab >>An Informed System Development Approach to Tropical Cyclone Track and Intensity Forecasting
2016 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

Introduction: Tropical Cyclones (TCs) inflict considerable damage to life and property every year. A major problem is that residents often hesitate to follow evacuation orders when the early warning messages are perceived as inaccurate or uninformative. The root problem is that providing accurate early forecasts can be difficult, especially in countries with less economic and technical means.

Aim: The aim of the thesis is to investigate how cyclone early warning systems can be technically improved. This means, first, identifying problems associated with the current cyclone early warning systems, and second, investigating if biologically based Artificial Neural Networks (ANNs) are feasible to solve some of the identified problems.

Method: First, for evaluating the efficiency of cyclone early warning systems, Bangladesh was selected as study area, where a questionnaire survey and an in-depth interview were administered. Second, a review of currently operational TC track forecasting techniques was conducted to gain a better understanding of various techniques’ prediction performance, data requirements, and computational resource requirements. Third, a technique using biologically based ANNs was developed to produce TC track and intensity forecasts. Systematic testing was used to find optimal values for simulation parameters, such as feature-detector receptive field size, the mixture of unsupervised and supervised learning, and learning rate schedule. Five types of 2D data were used for training. The networks were tested on two types of novel data, to assess their generalization performance.

Results: A major problem that is identified in the thesis is that the meteorologists at the Bangladesh Meteorological Department are currently not capable of providing accurate TC forecasts. This is an important contributing factor to residents’ reluctance to evacuate. To address this issue, an ANN-based TC track and intensity forecasting technique was developed that can produce early and accurate forecasts, uses freely available satellite images, and does not require extensive computational resources to run. Bidirectional connections, combined supervised and unsupervised learning, and a deep hierarchical structure assists the parallel extraction of useful features from five types of 2D data. The trained networks were tested on two types of novel data: First, tests were performed with novel data covering the end of the lifecycle of trained cyclones; for these test data, the forecasts produced by the networks were correct in 91-100% of the cases. Second, the networks were tested with data of a novel TC; in this case, the networks performed with between 30% and 45% accuracy (for intensity forecasts).

Conclusions: The ANN technique developed in this thesis could, with further extensions and up-scaling, using additional types of input images of a greater number of TCs, improve the efficiency of cyclone early warning systems in countries with less economic and technical means. The thesis work also creates opportunities for further research, where biologically based ANNs can be employed for general-purpose weather forecasting, as well as for forecasting other severe weather phenomena, such as thunderstorms.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Linköping, Sweden: Linköping University Electronic Press, 2016. 160 p.
Linköping Studies in Science and Technology. Dissertations, ISSN 0345-7524 ; 1734
Biologically based artificial neural networks; bi-directionally connected networks; temporal sequence learning; accurate tropical cyclone forecasting; informative warning message;
National Category
Other Computer and Information Science
urn:nbn:se:liu:diva-123198 (URN)10.3384/diss.diva-123198 (DOI)978-91-7685-854-7 (Print) (ISBN)
Public defence
2016-02-17, Alan Turing, Hus E, Campus Valla, Linköping, 13:15 (English)
Available from: 2016-01-13 Created: 2015-12-06 Last updated: 2016-01-28Bibliographically approved

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