Keeping track of the world's worst weather

Hurricanes crossing the Atlantic © NOAA

21 July 2011 - The Met Office is today releasing a new service to monitor and forecast the world's worst storms — tropical cyclones.

StormTracker is available in a free, basic version aimed at the public, plus an advanced version for professional risk managers. It provides an interactive and complete global picture of cyclones to help quantify risk and aid decision-making.

Backed by the latest advances in forecasting science and observation it is another example of how we are making our science more accessible to the public.

Matt Huddleston, Met Office Principal Climate Change Consultant, said: "The StormTracker tool is an amazing advance in technology. Risk managers in the financial and energy markets will find the access to a wider range of global forecasts, which are invaluable for reducing exposure to damaging storms like Hurricane Katrina in 2005 and Hurricane Andrew in 1992."

The advanced versions provide:

  • global risk forecasts from the Met Office's own 15-day forecasting model, combined with alternative views from two world-leading centres in America and Europe - something not available elsewhere;
  • near real-time ensemble and ensemble mean forecast storm tracks for up to 15 days ahead;
  • detections of new storms forming beyond the present 5-day boundary;
  • strike probabilities for up to 15 days ahead;
  • storm probabilities for the next 15 days - an early warning of emerging storm risks;
  • live global satellite observations of clouds and sea surface temperature;
  • a database of more than 150 years of storm track data.

Matt explained that the subscription service operates as a 'one-stop-shop' where there is a complete view of the main data used by financial markets.

He added: "The three models used, including the Met Office's new 15-day model, are market-leading and are consistently ranked among the top five in the world for dynamical forecasting on this timescale."

Adopting a multi-model approach on a 15-day timescale enables the user to see further ahead and the inclusion of ensemble data provides a risk-based overview of likely impacts.


Tropical cyclones

Last updated: 11 February 2016

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