Evaluating outer tropical cyclone size in reanalysis datasets using QuikSCAT data

Benjamin A. Schenkel, Ning Lin, Daniel Chavas, Michael Oppenheimer, Alan Brammer

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

37 Scopus citations


The present study examines the fidelity of outer tropical cyclone (TC) size and wind field structure in four atmospheric reanalysis datasets to evaluate whether reanalyses can be used to derive a long-term TC size dataset. Specifically, the precision and accuracy of reanalysis TC size for the North Atlantic (NA) and western North Pacific (WNP) basins are analyzed through comparison with a recently developed QuikSCAT TC size dataset (2000-09). Both outer TC size and structure in reanalyses closely match QuikSCAT data as revealed by strong correlations, similar standard deviations, and generally small biases. Of the TC size metrics examined, the radii of 6-8 m s-1 winds in the NA and radii of 6-10 m s-1 winds in the WNP are generally most comparable to QuikSCAT data. Compared to WNP TCs, NA TC size and structure are represented with greater fidelity. Among the four reanalyses examined, the National Centers for Environmental Prediction Climate Forecast System Reanalysis and the Japan Meteorological Agency Japanese 55-year Reanalysis represent TC size and structure with the greatest fidelity for both basins. Differences between reanalysis and QuikSCAT TC size increase with increasing QuikSCAT TC size in both basins and with decreasing TC latitude in the WNP. Finally, comparison of the distribution of reanalysis TC size during the satellite era with the distribution of QuikSCAT TC size suggests that reanalysis TC size is represented with reasonable fidelity throughout the satellite era and, thus, may be useful for constructing a multidecadal TC size dataset.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)8745-8762
Number of pages18
JournalJournal of Climate
Issue number21
StatePublished - Nov 1 2017

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Atmospheric Science


  • Hurricanes/typhoons
  • Hurricanes/typhoons
  • Reanalysis data
  • Satellite observations
  • Tropical cyclones


Dive into the research topics of 'Evaluating outer tropical cyclone size in reanalysis datasets using QuikSCAT data'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this