IBTrACS - The Global Tropical Cyclone Track Database



The National Climatic Data Center (NCDC) in Asheville in collaboration with many people and tropical cyclone forecast centers around the world have compiled a dataset of all known tropical cyclone tracks and intensities. The International Best Track Archive for Climate Stewardship (IBTrACS) seeks to provide "tropical cyclone best track data in a centralized location to aid our understanding of the distribution, frequency, and intensity of tropical cyclones worldwide."

Our research group at UNC Asheville received funding to support the IBTrACS effort by finding and tracking all tropical cloud clusters that have occurred since 1982. Cloud clusters are groups of thunderstorms over tropical oceans that have the potential to develop into tropical cyclones. We identified these systems by objectively analyzing the brightness temperature fields in reanalyzed GOES imagery (GridSat, see Knapp et al. 2011). A comprehensive dataset of cloud clusters can be very valuable for detection of climate signals and tropical cyclogenesis studies. The detection algorithm was developed by Mr. Chip Helms, a former student in our group. Our collaboration with IBTrACS occurred from 2009-2011.

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