IBTrACS: Tropical cyclone best track data

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IBTrACS: Tropical cyclone best track data
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IBTrACS (International Best Track Archive for Climate Stewardship) provides global tropical cyclone best track data in a centralized location to aid our understanding of the distribution, frequency, and intensity of tropical cyclones worldwide. The World Meteorological Organization Tropical Cyclone Programme has endorsed IBTrACS as an official archiving and distribution resource for tropical cyclone best track data. The data are available in many formats. The IBTrACS-WMO version of the data set uses data from the WMO-sanctioned RSMC/TCWC in each basin.

Key Strengths

Key Strengths

Consolidates global tropical cyclone data at a central location.

Available in a single file or subsets.

This is the most complete global set of historical tropical cyclones available. It includes data from 12 different agencies or historical databases

Key Limitations

Key Limitations

Changing operational procedures and observing systems have led to significant heterogeneities in the best track record.

Storms may have conflicting data from multiple sources.

WMO sanction North Indian Ocean data only goes back to 1990 at this time (2/2012).

Please cite data sources, following the data providers' instructions
Suggested Data Citation
  1. Please reference Knapp et al 2010 when using IBTrACS data in any publication. 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 Meteor. Society, 91, 363-376. doi:10.1175/2009BAMS2755.1

Dataset DOIs
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Hosted Climate Index Files
None
Usage Restrictions
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Expert User Guidance

Expert User Guidance

IBTrACS-ALL has data from over a dozen different sources that sometimes give 4 or more answers for the same storm. That's good for someone who is interested in the problems between agencies, but it confuses a lot of users. The WMO dataset just uses data from the WMO-sanctioned RSMC/TCWC in each basin, so it's one answer per storm. Carl Schreck, CICS-NC, 10 Feb 2012

Cite this page

Acknowledgement of any material taken from or knowledge gained from this page is appreciated:

Schreck, Carl & National Center for Atmospheric Research Staff (Eds). Last modified "The Climate Data Guide: IBTrACS: Tropical cyclone best track data.” Retrieved from https://climatedataguide.ucar.edu/climate-data/ibtracs-tropical-cyclone-best-track-data on 2024-02-24.


Citation of datasets is separate and should be done according to the data providers' instructions. If known to us, data citation instructions are given in the Data Access section, above.


Acknowledgement of the Climate Data Guide project is also appreciated:

Schneider, D. P., C. Deser, J. Fasullo, and K. E. Trenberth, 2013: Climate Data Guide Spurs Discovery and Understanding. Eos Trans. AGU, 94, 121–122, https://doi.org/10.1002/2013eo130001

Key Figures

Time series of the various NAO and NAM indices. They are highly correlated.

Tropical storm and hurricane tracks (120W-GM) in 2005. Contributed by Carl Schreck (CICS-NC, NOAA-NCDC).

Initial locations for all tropical cyclones (120W-GM) in 2005. Contributed by Carl Schreck (CICS-NC, NOAA-NCDC).

Outgoing longwave radiation (OLR) for 28 August 2005. From left to right, hurricane symbols denote the locations of Tropical Storm Irwin, Hurricane Katrina, and Tropical Storm Lee. Contributed by Carl Schreck (CICS-NC, NOAA-NCDC).

Longitude–time Hovmöller of outgoing longwave radiation (OLR) averaged 2.5N–17.5N. Hurricane symbols denote the genesis locations of all tropical cyclones. Red-filled symbols are Northern Hemisphere storms, while Southern Hemisphere storms are filled with Blue. Contributed by Carl Schreck (CICS-NC, NOAA-NCDC).

Other Information

Earth system components and main variables
Type of data product
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Dataset collections
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Years of record
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Data time period extended
Yes, data set is extended
Timestep
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Domain
Formats:
Input Data
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Vertical Levels:
Missing Data Flag
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Ocean or Land
None
Spatial Resolution
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Model Resolution (reanalysis)
None
Data Assimilation Method
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Model Vintage (reanalysis)
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