WASHINGTON, DC -- The Bush Administration is bolstering funding for hurricane research and forecast improvements by $13 million to accelerate NOAA scientists' ability to more accurately forecast tropical storms, hurricane intensity, the paths of these dangerous storms, and related storm surges.
The $13 million increase to NOAA's hurricane forecast improvement project is added to the original $4 million request for a total of $17 million for fiscal year 2009.
Goals of the project include improving the accuracy and reliability of predicting rapidly intensifying storms and extending the lead time of hurricane prediction with increased certainty. NOAA will use the funding in four major areas to: increase hurricane observations; advance forecast models through research, development, and engineering; increase computing power; and enhance collaboration with hurricane scientists in the private sector, government, and universities to advance research and operations.
Specific advancements outlined in the plan include:
- Improving hurricane track forecast accuracy by 20% for days 1 through 5 by 2013
- Improving hurricane intensity forecast accuracy by 20% for days 1 through 5 by 2013
- Extending the lead time for hurricane forecasts out to day 7.
Planning for the project began after the 2005 hurricane season, which produced several monster storms, including Hurricane Katrina. Reports provided to NOAA from the National Science Foundation and the NOAA Science Advisory Board, with input from university partners, other government agencies, and the private sector, were used to develop and adopt the final project framework on July 18, 2008.
NOAA Hurricane scientists predict that this year's Atlantic hurricane season will be above normal with 14-18 named storms, including seven to ten hurricanes.