Estimating the radius of maximum winds via satellite during Hurricane Lili (2002) over the Gulf of Mexico

Hsu, S.A. and A. Babin

Using a single case from Hurricane Lili (2002), a technique is described to stimate the radius of tropical cyclone maximum winds (R) utilizing satellite data. For the satellite estimation of R, the distance between the coldest cloud-top temperature surrounding the eye and the warmest temperature in the eye of the hurricane measured 29 km. National Data Buoy Center (NDBC) wind speed measurements at 10m height yielded a distance of 28.5 km when substituted into an empirical equation of the radial variation of tangential wind speed in a hurricane with the typical exponent of 0.7 for higher altitude. Both determinations of R were in excellent agreement, thus providing confidence that the satellite method may offer a reliable way to estimate R in some cases.

Ref: NWA Electronic Journal of Operational Meteorology, Feb. 1, 2005

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