How Do We Model Cyclone?

We use parametric models of the wind field surrounding a tropical cyclone track to determine the magnitude and direction of the destructive winds generated by the cyclone. The interaction of the destructive winds with topography, terrain and buildings is then modelled using empirical relationships.

  • Scenario modelling: For historical tropical cyclones, we can use the best estimate of the track and intensity of the tropical cyclone based on observations and satellite data to determine the path of the cyclone. These cases can be useful for identifying areas at significant risk of severe wind damage from an individual tropical cyclone.
  • Probabilistic modelling: For future scenarios, we can generate a large number of synthetic tropical cyclones using a statistical model of tropical cyclone behaviour. The swath of destructive winds around each of these synthetic cyclones can be calculated in the same way as for historical cyclones, and then aggregated to provide a probabilistic estimate of severe winds over a region.
  • Model validation: Test the cyclone model and compare it against observed damage from past tropical cyclones. Validation cases can also be tested against observational data such as anemometer records from automatic weather stations in the path of the tropical cyclone.

Topic contact: Last updated: July 17, 2013