Estimating tropical cyclone intensity from infrared image data

Miguel F. Piñeros, Elizabeth A. Ritchie, J. Scott Tyo

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

63 Scopus citations


This paper describes results from a near-real-time objective technique for estimating the intensity of tropical cyclones from satellite infrared imagery in the North Atlantic Ocean basin. The technique quantifies the level of organization or axisymmetry of the infrared cloud signature of a tropical cyclone as an indirect measurement of its maximum wind speed. The final maximum wind speed calculated by the technique is an independent estimate of tropical cyclone intensity. Seventy-eight tropical cyclones from the 2004-09 seasons are used both to train and to test independently the intensity estimation technique. Two independent tests are performed to test the ability of the technique to estimate tropical cyclone intensity accurately. The best results from these tests have a root-mean-square intensity error of between 13 and 15 kt (where 1 kt'0.5m s21) for the two test sets.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)690-698
Number of pages9
JournalWeather and Forecasting
Issue number5
StatePublished - Oct 2011
Externally publishedYes


  • Hurricanes
  • Infrared radiation
  • Remote sensing
  • Satellite observations
  • Tropical cyclones

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Atmospheric Science


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