Global Tropical Cloud Cluster (TCC) Climatology Project

Description

Collaboration with the IBTrACS team at the NOAA National Climatic Data Center has produced a dataset that contains all tropical cloud clusters (TCCs) that have formed since 1982 (see exceptions in documentation). Cloud clusters are groups of thunderstorms over tropical oceans that have the potential to develop into tropical cyclones. Strong TCCs are sometimes called "INVEST" systems in the community. We are finding these systems by objectively analyzing the brightness temperature fields in reanalyzed GOES and other geostationary imagery (GridSat, see Knapp et al. 2011). TCCs that develop into tropical cyclones are identified by matching TCC coordinates to IBTrACS, the global best-track tropical cyclone database.

The data contain over 50 variables, flags, and other parameters that can have numerous applications, including tropical cyclogenesis studies, forecasting, and climate trends. More details about the data can be found in the documentation.

Data and Documentation

The current version of the data is v01r01. This dataset contains global TCCs from 1982-2009 with some exceptions (see documentation). The data are available in two formats: netCDF (.nc) and Comma Separated Variable (.csv), a text-based format. An example of TCC tracks from the data is shown in the figure below.

TCC Frequency
Number of TCCs that tracked within 55 km of a grid point (1998-2007)

The first official data release occurred August 2011. Data can be downloaded from the THREDDS data server at the Department of Atmospheric Sciences, UNC Asheville:

CSV files can be easily imported into MS Excel or statistical packages for display and analysis.

Bibliography (Refereed Articles)

  • Hennon, C.C., P.P. Papin, C.M. Zarzar, J.R. Michael, J.A. Caudill, C.R. Douglas, W.C. Groetsema, J.H. Lacy, Z.D. Maye, J.L. Reid, M.A. Scales, and M.D. Talley, 2013: Tropical Cloud Cluster Climatology, Variability, and Genesis Productivity. Journal of Climate, 26, 3046-3066.

  • Hennon, C.C., C.N. Helms, K.R. Knapp, and A. Bowen, 2011: An Objective Algorithm for Detecting and Tracking Tropical Cloud Clusters: Implications for Tropical Cyclogenesis Prediction. Journal of Atmospheric and Oceanic Technology, 28, 1007-1018.

  • Knapp, K.R., and coauthors, 2011: Globally Gridded Satellite (GridSat) Observations for Climate Studies. Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society, 92, 893-907.

  • Knapp, K.R., M.C. Kruk, D.H. Levinson, H.J. Diamond, and C.J. Neumann, 2010: The International Best Track Archive for Climate Stewardship (IBTrACS): Unifying Tropical Cyclone Best Track Data. Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society, 91, 363-376.

    Bibliography (Conference Papers and Posters)

  • Hennon, C.C., C.N. Helms, and K.R. Knapp, 2010: Toward a Global Climatology of Tropical Cloud Clusters (Paper). 29th Conference on Hurricanes and Tropical Meteorology, (Tucson AZ), American Meteorological Society.

  • Hennon, C.C., C.N. Helms, and K.R. Knapp, 2010: Toward a Global Climatology of Tropical Cloud Clusters (Poster). 29th Conference on Hurricanes and Tropical Meteorology, Tucson AZ.

  • Helms, C., C.C. Hennon, and K. Knapp, 2009: Augmenting Global Best Track Databases with Tropical Cloud Clusters. IBTrACS Workshop, National Climatic Data Center, Asheville NC.

  • Helms, C., 2010: An Objective Algorithm for the Identification of Convective Tropical Cloud Clusters in Geostationary Infrared Imagery. UNC Asheville Journal of Undergraduate Research, 180-186.

  • Helms, C., C.C. Hennon, and K.R. Knapp, 2008: An Objective Algorithm for the Identification of Convective Tropical Cloud Clusters in Geostationary Infrared Imagery.28th Conference on Hurricanes and Tropical Meteorology, (Orlando FL), American Meteorological Society.

    Related Links:

  • IBTrACS Home
  • Browse IBTrACS Data
  • GridSat Home
  • North Carolina's Public Liberal Arts University