| HOME | ARCHIVES | FORECASTS | IMAGERY | ABOUT NHC | RECONNAISSANCE |

Tropical Cyclone Report

Hurricane Karl

16 - 24 September 2004

Jack Beven
National Hurricane Center
17 December 2004

Karl was a category 4 hurricane on the Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Scale that traveled across the open central North Atlantic.

a. Synoptic History

Karl formed from a strong tropical wave that moved westward from the coast of Africa on 13 September. The system showed increasing shower activity on 14 September, and Dvorak satellite intensity estimates began the next day. The wave spawned a tropical depression around 0600 UTC 16 September about 340 n mi southwest of the southern Cape Verde islands. The "best track" chart of the tropical cyclone's path is given in Figure 1, with the wind and pressure histories shown in Figure 2 and Figure 3, respectively. The best track positions and intensities are listed in Table 1.

The depression initially moved westward south of a subtropical ridge and strengthened into a tropical storm later that day. Karl turned northwestward on 17 September, then moved west-northwestward while becoming a hurricane the next day. The hurricane continued west-northwestward on 19 September, then turned northwestward on 20 September and north-northwestward on 21 September towards a weakness in the ridge. Maximum sustained winds reached an estimated 115 kt on 20 September and an estimated 125 kt on 21 September. Karl continued moving north-northwestward until 22 September when it turned northeastward in response to a deep-layer baroclinic trough developing north of the hurricane. This motion continued through 23 September. The intensity fluctuated during this time due to a concentric eyewall cycle, with maximum sustained winds decreasing to an estimated 90 kt on 22 September and increasing to an estimated 110 kt the next day. Karl turned northward east of the trough on 24 September and weakened as transition to an extratropical cyclone began. The transition was complete early on 25 September about 510 n mi east of Cape Race, Newfoundland.

As an extratropical low, Karl moved northeastward and eastward across the North Atlantic Ocean and the North Sea, eventually reaching Norway before being absorbed into another extratropical low late on 28 September.

b. Meteorological Statistics

Observations in Karl (Figure 2 and Figure 3) include satellite-based Dvorak technique intensity estimates from the Tropical Analysis and Forecast Branch (TAFB), the Satellite Analysis Branch (SAB) and the U. S. Air Force Weather Agency (AFWA). Microwave satellite imagery from NOAA polar-orbiting satellites, the NASA Tropical Rainfall Measuring Mission (TRMM), the NASA QuikSCAT, the NASA Aqua, the Department of Defense Coriolis/Windsat satellite, and Defense Meteorological Satellite Program (DMSP) satellites were also useful in tracking Karl.

Shipping avoided the core of Karl, with reports of winds of tropical storm force from the periphery of the cyclone given in Table 2. The highest reported wind was from the Rotterdam, which reported a sustained wind of 45 kt at 1800 UTC 24 September. Two drifting buoys encountered the core of Karl on 24 September. Buoy 41600 reported a pressure of 958.1 mb at 0100 UTC, while buoy 44617 reported a pressure of 964.2 mb at 2100 UTC.

c. Casualty and Damage Statistics

There were no reports of damages or casualties associated with Karl.

d. Forecast and Warning Critique

Average official track errors (with the number of cases in parentheses) for Karl were 37 (31), 65 (29), 84 (27), 101 (25), 118 (21), 125 (17), and 147 (13) n mi for the 12, 24, 36, 48, 72, 96, and 120 h forecasts, respectively. These errors are lower than the average official track errors for the 10-yr period 1994-2003[1] (44, 78, 112, 146, 217, 248, and 319 n mi, respectively), (Table 3) - about 20% lower at 12-36 h increasing to 50-60% lower at 96 and 120 h. Some of the track forecast models had average errors lower than the official. These include the GUNA consensus model, which was better at all times except 12 h, and the GFS global model, which was better at all times except 12 and 120 h.

Average official intensity errors were 11, 11, 11, 13, 16, 13 and 11 kt for the 12, 24, 36, 48, 72, 96, and 120 h forecasts, respectively. For comparison, the average official intensity errors over the 10-yr period 1994-2003 are 6, 10, 12, 15, 19, 20, and 21 kt, respectively.

Watches and warnings were not necessary for Karl.

Acknowledgements

Portions of the track of Karl as an extratropical low were provided by the Ocean Prediction Center and the United Kingdom Meteorological Office.


[1]Errors given for the 96 and 120 h periods are averages over the three-year period 2001-3.

Table 1: Best track for Hurricane Karl, 16 - 24 September 2004.
Date/Time
(UTC)
PositionPressure
(mb)
Wind Speed
(kt)
Stage
Lat.
(°N)
Lon.
(°W)
 16 / 0600 11.2 29.2 1008 30 tropical depression
 16 / 1200 11.2 30.7 1007 30 "
 16 / 1800 11.2 32.1 1005 35 tropical storm
 17 / 0000 11.2 33.3 1002 40 "
 17 / 0600 11.6 34.4 997 50 "
 17 / 1200 12.1 35.3 994 55 "
 17 / 1800 13.0 36.0 992 55 "
 18 / 0000 13.9 37.0 984 70 hurricane
 18 / 0600 14.5 38.0 975 85 "
 18 / 1200 15.0 38.8 970 90 "
 18 / 1800 15.6 39.7 965 95 "
 19 / 0000 15.9 40.8 965 95 "
 19 / 0600 16.0 41.6 960 100 "
 19 / 1200 16.3 42.4 955 105 "
 19 / 1800 16.7 43.4 951 110 "
 20 / 0000 16.8 44.5 951 110 "
 20 / 0600 17.0 45.2 948 115 "
 20 / 1200 17.5 46.0 951 110 "
 20 / 1800 18.1 46.5 951 110 "
 21 / 0000 18.7 47.0 943 120 "
 21 / 0600 19.6 47.3 938 125 "
 21 / 1200 20.8 47.8 943 120 "
 21 / 1800 22.3 48.3 948 105 "
 22 / 0000 23.7 48.8 955 100 "
 22 / 0600 24.9 49.4 962 95 "
 22 / 1200 26.2 49.5 967 90 "
 22 / 1800 27.5 48.7 970 90 "
 23 / 0000 29.0 47.7 965 95 "
 23 / 0600 30.7 46.3 951 110 "
 23 / 1200 32.5 44.4 953 105 "
 23 / 1800 34.5 43.0 955 90 "
 24 / 0000 36.8 41.9 957 80 "
 24 / 0600 39.5 41.2 959 75 "
 24 / 1200 42.6 40.5 961 70 "
 24 / 1800 45.5 40.5 962 65 "
 25 / 0000 48.1 40.5 963 55 extratropical
 25 / 0600 50.4 38.9 967 55 "
 25 / 1200 53.0 36.5 973 55 "
 25 / 1800 56.1 32.0 980 55 "
 26 / 0000 59.5 26.0 986 55 "
 26 / 0600 62.0 17.0 983 55 "
 26 / 1200 63.5 8.0 976 60 "
 26 / 1800 64.0 2.0 976 60 "
 27 / 0000 64.0 2.5E 980 55 "
 27 / 0600 64.5 7.0E 980 45 "
 27 / 1200 65.0 10.5E 986 40 "
 27 / 1800 65.3 12.0E 989 35 "
 28 / 0000 65.5 13.5E 992 30 "
 28 / 0600     absorbed by extratropical low
 21 / 0600 19.6 47.3 938 125 minimum pressure


Table 2: Selected ship/drifting buoy reports with winds of at least 34 kt for Hurricane Karl, 16 -24 September 2004.
Ship Name or Call SignDate/Time (UTC)Lat.
(°N)
Lon.
(°W)
Wind dir/speed (deg/kt)Pressure (mb)
Bering Sea21 / 060019.543.8150 / 35 1011.0 
Buoy 1360021 / 154022.446.8230 / 39 1000.5 
Lapponian Reefer23 / 120027.643.1180 / 44 1011.7 
Star Herdla23 / 150031.041.4170 / 41 1007.0 
A8CR823 / 180029.540.7200 / 41 1012.0 
Star Herdla23 / 180031.141.5190 / 39 1004.7 
Maersk Durban24 / 060036.436.0230 / 41 1009.0 
Santa Maria24 / 060042.838.1120 / 39 1002.4 
ColomboBay24 / 090042.546.9010 / 35 1003.1 
Rotterdam24 / 180044.434.5150 / 45 1009.3 


Table 3: Preliminary forecast evaluation (heterogeneous sample) for Hurricane Karl, 16 - 24 September 2004. Forecast errors (n mi) are followed by the number of forecasts in parentheses. Errors smaller than the NHC official forecast (OFCL) are shown in bold-face type. Verification includes the depression stage, but does not include the extratropical stage, if any.
Forecast TechniquePeriod (hours)
122436487296120
CLP551 (32) 111 (30) 187 (28) 262 (26) 390 (22) 489 (18) 544 (14) 
GFDI31 (30) 51 (28)62 (26)73 (24)110 (20)153 (16) 188 (12) 
GFDL*39 (30) 56 (28)64 (26)72 (25)107 (21)147 (17) 165 (12) 
GFNI49 (29) 85 (27) 120 (25) 161 (23) 228 (19) 269 (15) 294 (11) 
GFDN*49 (30) 87 (28) 115 (26) 148 (24) 229 (20) 265 (16) 255 (12) 
AF1I38 (24) 62 (22)80 (21)103 (19) 120 (15)   
AFW1*52 (12) 85 (12) 91 (11) 101 (10) 116 (8)  
LBAR34 (32) 56 (30)78 (28)111 (26) 216 (22) 272 (18) 380 (14) 
A98E43 (32) 80 (30) 131 (28) 169 (26) 304 (22) 445 (18) 731 (14) 
A9UK42 (15) 83 (14) 126 (13) 153 (12) 218 (10)   
BAMD43 (32) 76 (30) 107 (28) 139 (26) 239 (22) 284 (18) 382 (14) 
BAMM48 (32) 84 (30) 118 (28) 151 (26) 222 (22) 226 (18) 305 (14) 
BAMS59 (32) 110 (30) 155 (28) 187 (26) 209 (22) 167 (18) 279 (14) 
NGPI50 (31) 95 (29) 135 (27) 169 (25) 220 (21) 199 (17) 199 (13) 
NGPS*51 (32) 95 (30) 136 (28) 171 (26) 225 (22) 218 (18) 196 (14) 
UKMI49 (27) 82 (25) 102 (23) 128 (21) 199 (17) 173 (13) 302 (10) 
UKM*49 (15) 84 (14) 113 (13) 122 (12) 159 (10) 169 (8) 251 (6) 
GFSI36 (30) 56 (28)66 (26)76 (24)92 (20)115 (16)217 (12) 
GFS*37 (31) 59 (29)69 (27)76 (25)97 (21)110 (17)183 (13) 
AEMI37 (31) 64 (29)83 (27)104 (25) 146 (21) 150 (17) 238 (13) 
AEMN*47 (30) 66 (28) 84 (27) 101 (25) 149 (21) 154 (17) 206 (14) 
GUNS41 (27) 68 (25) 87 (23) 104 (21) 132 (17) 109 (13)153 (10)
GUNA38 (27) 60 (25)74 (23)89 (21)117 (17)97 (13)137 (10)
CONU37 (30) 65 (28) 83 (26)102 (24) 128 (20) 116 (16)140 (12)
FSSE*37 (27) 54 (25)67 (23)82 (21)120 (17) 116 (13)168 (10) 
OFCI39 (30) 65 (28) 86 (26) 99 (24)131 (20) 137 (16) 165 (12) 
OFCL37 (31) 65 (29) 84 (27) 101 (25) 118 (21) 125 (17) 147 (13) 
NHC Official (1994-2003 mean)44 (3172) 78 (2894) 112 (2636) 146 (2368) 217 (1929) 248 (421) 319 (341) 

*Output from these models was unavailable at forecast time.

Figure 1: Best track positions for Hurricane Karl, 16 - 24 September 2004. Track during the extratropical stage is based on analyses from the NOAA Ocean Prediction Center and the United Kingdom Meteorological Office.

Figure 2: Selected wind observations and best track maximum sustained surface wind speed curve for Hurricane Karl, 16 - 24 September 2004. Estimates during the extratropical stage are based on analyses from the NOAA Ocean Prediction Center and the United Kingdom Meteorological Office.

Figure 3: Selected pressure observations and best track minimum central pressure curve for Hurricane Karl, 16 - 24 September 2004. Estimates during the extratropical stage are based on analyses from the NOAA Ocean Prediction Center and the United Kingdom Meteorological Office.


Standard version of this page

Tropical Cyclone Reports
Alex - Bonnie - Charley - Danielle - Earl - Frances - Gaston - Hermine - Ivan - Ten - Jeanne - Karl - Lisa - Matthew - Nicole - Otto

Alternate Formats
About Alternates - E-Mail Advisories - RSS Feeds

Cyclone Forecasts
Latest Advisory - Past Advisories - About Advisories

Marine Forecasts
Latest Products - About Marine Products

Tools & Data
Satellite Imagery - US Weather Radar - Aircraft Recon - Local Data Archive - Forecast Verification - Deadliest/Costliest/Most Intense

Learn About Hurricanes
Storm Names Wind Scale - Prepare - Climatology - NHC Glossary - NHC Acronyms - Frequently Asked Questions - AOML Hurricane-Research Division

About Us
About NHC - Mission/Vision - Other NCEP Centers - NHC Staff - Visitor Information - NHC Library

Contact Us


NOAA/ National Weather Service
National Centers for Environmental Prediction
National Hurricane Center
11691 SW 17th Street
Miami, Florida, 33165-2149 USA
nhcwebmaster@noaa.gov
Disclaimer
Privacy Policy
Credits
About Us
Glossary
Career Opportunities
Page last modified: Tuesday, 15-Mar-2005 21:06:17 UTC