Analysis of North Atlantic Tropical Cyclone Intensify Change Using Data Mining




Tang, Jiang

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Tropical cyclones (TC), especially when their intensity reaches hurricane scale, can become a costly natural hazard. Accurate prediction of tropical cyclone intensity is very difficult because of inadequate observations on TC structures, poor understanding of physical processes, coarse model resolution and inaccurate initial conditions, etc. This study aims to tackle two factors that account for the underperformance of current TC intensity forecasts: (1) inadequate observations of TC structures, and (2) deficient understanding of the underlying physical processes governing TC intensification. To tackle the problem of inadequate observations of TC structures, efforts have been made to extract vertical and horizontal structural parameters of latent heat release from Tropical Rainfall Measuring Mission (TRMM) Precipitation Radar (PR) data products. A case study of Hurricane Isabel (2003) was conducted first to explore the feasibility of using the 3D TC structure information in predicting TC intensification. Afterwards, several structural parameters were extracted from 53 TRMM PR 2A25 observations on 25 North Atlantic TCs during the period of 1998 to 2003. A new generation of multi-correlation data mining algorithm (Apriori and its variations) was applied to find roles of the latent heat release structure in TC intensification. The results showed that the buildup of TC energy is indicated by the height of the convective tower, and the relative low latent heat release at the core area and around the outer band. Adverse conditions which prevent TC intensification include the following: (1) TC entering a higher latitude area where the underlying sea is relative cold, (2) TC moving too fast to absorb the thermal energy from the underlying sea, or (3) strong energy loss at the outer band. When adverse conditions and amicable conditions reached equilibrium status, tropical cyclone intensity would remain stable. The dataset from Statistical Hurricane Intensity Prediction Scheme (SHIPS) covering the period of 1982-2003 and the Apriori-based association rule mining algorithm were used to study the associations of underlying geophysical characteristics with the intensity change of tropical cyclones. The data have been stratified into 6 TC categories from tropical depression to category 4 hurricanes based on their strength. The result showed that the persistence of intensity change in the past and the strength of vertical shear in the environment are the most prevalent factors for all of the 6 TC categories. Hyper-edge searching had found 3 sets of parameters which showed strong intramural binds. Most of the parameters used in SHIPS model have a consistent ―I-W‖ relation over different TC categories, indicating a consistent function of those parameters in TC development. However, the ―I-W‖ relations of the relative momentum flux and the meridional motion change from tropical storm stage to hurricane stage, indicating a change in the role of those two parameters in TC development. Because rapid intensification (RI) is a major source of errors when predicting hurricane intensity, the association rule mining algorithm was performed on RI versus non-RI tropical cyclone cases using the same SHIPS dataset. The results had been compared with those from the traditional statistical analysis conducted by Kaplan and DeMaria (2003). The rapid intensification rule with 5 RI conditions proposed by the traditional statistical analysis was found by the association rule mining in this study as well. However, further analysis showed that the 5 RI conditions can be replaced by another association rule using fewer conditions but with a higher RI probability (RIP). This means that the rule with all 5 constraints found by Kaplan and DeMaria is not optimal, and the association rule mining technique can find a rule with fewer constraints yet fits more RI cases. The further analysis with the highest RIPs over different numbers of conditions has demonstrated that the interactions among multiple factors are responsible for the RI process of TCs. However, the influence of factors saturates at certain numbers. This study has shown successful data mining examples in studying tropical cyclone intensification using association rules. The higher RI probability with fewer conditions found by association rule technique is significant. This work demonstrated that data mining techniques can be used as an efficient exploration method to generate hypotheses, and that statistical analysis should be performed to confirm the hypotheses, as is generally expected for data mining applications.



Data mining, Tropical cyclone intensity, Apriori algorithm, SHIPS, Rapid intensification