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Historical North Atlantic Tropical Cyclone Tracks, 1851-2004

Historical North Atlantic Tropical Cyclone Tracks, 1851-2004

Metadata also available as - [Outline] - [Parseable text] - [XML] - [DIF]

Frequently-anticipated questions:


What does this data set describe?

Title: Historical North Atlantic Tropical Cyclone Tracks, 1851-2004
Abstract:
This Historical North Atlantic Tropical Cyclone Tracks file contains the six-hourly (0000, 0600, 1200, 1800 UTC) center locations and intensities for all northern Atlantic subtropical depressions and storms, extratropical storms, tropical lows, waves, disturbances, depressions and storms, and all hurricanes, from 1851 through 2004. Included are storms in the Caribbean Sea and the Gulf of Mexico. This is a replacement for the January 2005 map layer distributed as Historical North Atlantic Tropical Cyclone Tracks, 1851-2003.
Supplemental_Information:
An ASCII format version of the Historical Atlantic Tropical Cyclone Tracks file is available at <http://www.nhc.noaa.gov/tracks1851to2004_atl.txt>.

For more information on the Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Scale, please see <http://www.nhc.noaa.gov/aboutsshs.shtml>.

For more information on tropical cyclone advisories, please see <http://www.nhc.noaa.gov/HAW2/english/forecast/forecast_products.shtml>.

General information on subtropical and tropical cyclones is available from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, Atlantic Oceanographic and Meteorological Laboratory, Hurricane Research Division FAQ page at <http://www.aoml.noaa.gov/hrd/tcfaq/tcfaqHED.html>, and from the National Hurricane Center Hurricane Basics page at <http://www.nhc.noaa.gov/HAW2/english/basics.shtml>.

  1. How should this data set be cited?

    National Oceanic and Atmospheri, Tropical Prediction Center/National Hurr, 200509, Historical North Atlantic Tropical Cyclone Tracks, 1851-2004: National Atlas of the United States, Reston, VA.

    Online Links:

  2. What geographic area does the data set cover?

    West_Bounding_Coordinate: -109.3
    East_Bounding_Coordinate: 13.5
    North_Bounding_Coordinate: 70.7
    South_Bounding_Coordinate: 7.2

  3. What does it look like?

  4. Does the data set describe conditions during a particular time period?

    Beginning_Date:
    Ending_Date: 05-Dec-2004
    Currentness_Reference: Ground condition

  5. What is the general form of this data set?

  6. How does the data set represent geographic features?

    1. How are geographic features stored in the data set?

      This is a Vector data set. It contains the following vector data types (SDTS terminology):

      • String (37706)

    2. What coordinate system is used to represent geographic features?

      Horizontal positions are specified in geographic coordinates, that is, latitude and longitude. Latitudes are given to the nearest 0.1. Longitudes are given to the nearest 0.1. Latitude and longitude values are specified in Decimal degrees.

      The horizontal datum used is North American Datum of 1983.
      The ellipsoid used is GRS1980.
      The semi-major axis of the ellipsoid used is 6378137.0.
      The flattening of the ellipsoid used is 1/298.257222.

  7. How does the data set describe geographic features?

    Subtropical and tropical cyclone tracks (described by huralll020.dbf)
    The path followed by the center of a subtropical or tropical cyclone or related storm. A subtropical cyclone is a low pressure system that develops over subtropical waters and that initially has a non- tropical circulation but in which some elements of tropical cyclone cloud structure are present. Subtropical cyclones can evolve into tropical cyclones. A tropical cyclone is a warm-core, non-frontal low-pressure system that develops over tropical or subtropical waters, covering a large region and with organized convection (i.e. thunderstorm activity) and definite cyclonic (counter-clockwise circular) surface wind circulation. Related storms are those that develop into subtropical or tropical cyclones or develop from them, such as tropical disturbances, lows, waves, and extratropical storms. (Source: National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, Tropical Prediction Center/National Hurricane Center)

    Shape
    The representation of the entity in the data. (Source: National Atlas of the United States)

    ValueDefinition
    PolyLine1-dimensional element that may or may not surround a 2- dimensional element.

    Fnode#
    Internal sequence number of the from-node. (Source: National Atlas of the United States)

    Range of values
    Minimum:0
    Maximum:0

    Tnode#
    Internal sequence number of the to-node. (Source: National Atlas of the United States)

    Range of values
    Minimum:0
    Maximum:0

    Lpoly#
    Internal sequence number of the left polygon. (Source: National Atlas of the United States)

    Range of values
    Minimum:0
    Maximum:0

    Rpoly#
    Internal sequence number of the right polygon. (Source: National Atlas of the United States)

    Range of values
    Minimum:0
    Maximum:0

    Length
    The length of the line in coverage units. In the distributed file, coverage units represent decimal degrees. (Source: National Atlas of the United States)

    Range of values
    Minimum:0.000
    Maximum:11.180

    Huralll020
    Internal feature number. (Source: National Atlas of the United States)

    Range of values
    Minimum:1
    Maximum:37706

    Year
    The year of the storm advisory, in the format yyyy. Advisories are issued for storms that have attained at least tropical depression status, and are issued every six hours, at 0000, 0600, 1200, and 1800 hours. Tropical Prediction Center/National Hurricane Center advisories are discontinued once a storm makes landfall and all storm warnings are dropped, or when the wind speed drops below 30 knots or 35 mph. The records for each date are listed in order. (Source: National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, Tropical Prediction Center/National Hurricane Center)

    Range of values
    Minimum:1851
    Maximum:2004

    Month
    The month of the storm advisory. Advisories are issued for storms that have attained at least tropical depression status, and are issued every six hours, at 0000, 0600, 1200, and 1800 hours. Tropical Prediction Center/National Hurricane Center advisories are discontinued once a storm makes landfall and all storm warnings are dropped, or when the wind speed drops below 30 knots or 35 mph. The records for each date are listed in order. (Source: National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, Tropical Prediction Center/National Hurricane Center)

    Range of values
    Minimum:1
    Maximum:12

    Day
    The day of the storm advisory. Advisories are issued for storms that have attained at least tropical depression status, and are issued every six hours, at 0000, 0600, 1200, and 1800 hours. Tropical Prediction Center/National Hurricane Center advisories are discontinued once a storm makes landfall and all storm warnings are dropped, or when the wind speed drops below 30 knots or 35 mph. The records for each date are listed in order. (Source: National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, Tropical Prediction Center/National Hurricane Center)

    Range of values
    Minimum:1
    Maximum:31

    Btid
    The unique event identifier. Identifiers are sequential, starting with 1 in June, 1851 and ending with 1325 in December, 2004. (Source: National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, Tropical Prediction Center/National Hurricane Center)

    Range of values
    Minimum:1
    Maximum:1325

    Name
    The given name of a storm. Storms are named if they are true tropical storms and attain a sustained wind speed of at least 39 mph. (Source: National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, Tropical Prediction Center/National Hurricane Center)

    ValueDefinition
    NOT NAMEDThere is no given name for the storm. Prior to 1950 storms were not named. Later storms that were not recognized as tropical storms or hurricanes at the time of their occurrence are also not named.
    SUBTROPThere is no given name for the storm because it was classified as a subtropical depression or subtropical storm.
    SUBTROP1There is no given name for the storm because it was classified as a subtropical depression or subtropical storm. Subtrop1 is the first subtropical cyclone for a given year. A storm may initially be identified as Subtrop1 but then be given a name if it develops into a tropical storm; in this case there will be no storm identified as Subtrop1 for the year even though there may be a storm identified as Subtrop2.
    SUBTROP2There is no given name for the storm because it was classified as a subtropical depression or subtropical storm. Subtrop2 is the second subtropical cyclone for a given year. A storm may initially be identified as Subtrop2 but then be given a name if it develops into a tropical storm; in this case there will be no storm identified as Subtrop2 for the year even though there may be a storm identified as Subtrop3.
    SUBTROP3There is no given name for the storm because it was classified as a subtropical depression or subtropical storm. Subtrop3 is the third subtropical cyclone for a given year. A storm may initially be identified as Subtrop3 but then be given a name if it develops into a tropical storm; in this case there will be no storm identified as Subtrop3 for the year even though there may be a storm identified as Subtrop4.
    SUBTROP4There is no given name for the storm because it was classified as a subtropical depression or subtropical storm. Subtrop4 is the fourth subtropical cyclone for a given year. A storm may initially be identified as Subtrop4 but then be given a name if it develops into a tropical storm; in this case there will be no storm identified as Subtrop4 for the year.

    Formal codeset
    Codeset Name:World-Wide Tropical Cyclone Names
    Codeset Source:World Meteorological Organization

    Category
    The intensity classification of the storm. Hurricanes are classified according to the Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Scale. (Source: National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, Tropical Prediction Center/National Hurricane Center)

    ValueDefinition
    DThe storm was classified as a tropical disturbance at the time of the advisory. A tropical disturbance is a discrete tropical weather system of apparently organized convection (i.e. thunderstorm activity), which is generally 100 to 300 nautical miles in diameter. It originates in the tropics or subtropics, has a nonfrontal migratory character, and maintains its identity for 24 hours or more. It does not necessarily exhibit circulation, but may develop into a tropical cyclone.
    EThe storm was classified as Extratropical at the time of the advisory. Extratropical is a term used in advisories and tropical summaries to indicate that a cyclone has lost its tropical characteristics. The term implies both that the cyclone has moved out of the tropics and that the energy source driving the storm has changed. While tropical cyclones derive their energy from the convection of warm, moist air, extratropical storms derive their energy from the temperature contrast between warm and cold air masses. It is important to note that cyclones can become extratropical and still retain winds of hurricane or tropical storm force.
    h3The storm was classified as a Category 1 hurricane at the time of the advisory. A Category 1 hurricane is a tropical cyclone with maximum sustained surface (10 meter) winds of 64 knots/74 mph to 82 knots/95 mph, inclusive.
    H2The storm was classified as a Category 2 hurricane at the time of the advisory. A Category 2 hurricane is a tropical cyclone with maximum sustained surface (10 meter) winds of 83 knots/96 mph to 95 knots/110 mph, inclusive.
    H3The storm was classified as a Category 3 hurricane at the time of the advisory. A Category 3 hurricane is a tropical cyclone with maximum sustained surface (10 meter) winds of 96 knots/111 mph to 113 knots/130 mph, inclusive.
    H4The storm was classified as a Category 4 hurricane at the time of the advisory. A Category 4 hurricane is a tropical cyclone with maximum sustained surface (10 meter) winds of 114 knots/131 mph to 135 knots/155 mph, inclusive.
    H5The storm was classified as a Category 5 hurricane at the time of the advisory. A Category 5 hurricane is a tropical cyclone with maximum sustained surface (10 meter) winds greater than 135 knots/155 mph.
    LThe storm was classified as a tropical low at the time of the advisory. A tropical low indicates low pressure at the surface, but no other characteristics of a tropical cyclone are present.
    SDThe storm was classified as a subtropical depression at the time of the advisory. A subtropical depression is a subtropical cyclone with maximum sustained surface (10 meter) winds of less than 34 knots/39 mph.
    SSThe storm was classified as a subtropical storm at the time of the advisory. A subtropical storm is a subtropical cyclone with maximum sustained surface (10 meter) winds of 34 knots/39 mph or greater.
    TDThe storm was classified as a tropical depression at the time of the advisory. A tropical depression is a tropical cyclone with maximum sustained surface (10 meter) winds of less than 34 knots/ 39 mph.
    TSThe storm was classified as a tropical storm at the time of the advisory. A tropical storm is a tropical cyclone with maximum sustained surface (10 meter) winds of 34 knots/39 mph to 64 knots/73 mph, inclusive.
    WThe storm was classified as a tropical wave at the time of the advisory. Tropical waves occur in the trade-wind easterlies, moving to the west with a wave-like motion. They show a detectable shift in wind direction, which may not be detectable at the surface but may be seen in the middle atmosphere. A tropical wave may develop into a tropical cyclone.

    Long
    The longitude of the starting point of the storm track segment, in tenths of a degree. Storm center positions are collected every six hours, and each storm center position is represented by a longitude- latitude coordinate pair. When a storm stood still longer than the six-hour collection interval, the next location point was offset approximately 0.0001 degrees to retain relevant information. Any variation in longitude smaller than 0.1 degrees should be assumed to be an introduced offset from the originally recorded point. (Source: National Atlas of the United States)

    Range of values
    Minimum:-109.3000000
    Maximum:13.5000000

    Lat
    The latitude of the starting point of the storm track segment, in tenths of a degree. Storm center positions are collected every six hours, and each storm center position is represented by a longitude- latitude coordinate pair. When a storm stood still longer than the six-hour collection interval, the next location point was offset approximately 0.0001 degrees to retain relevant information. Any variation in longitude smaller than 0.1 degrees should be assumed to be an introduced offset from the originally recorded point. (Source: National Atlas of the United States)

    Range of values
    Minimum:7.2000000
    Maximum:70.7000000

    Wind_kts
    The measured or estimated wind speed at the time of the advisory, in whole knots. (Source: National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, Tropical Prediction Center/National Hurricane Center)

    Range of values
    Minimum:10.0
    Maximum:165.0

    Pressure
    The measured or estimated barometric pressure at the time of the advisory, in millibars. (Source: National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, Tropical Prediction Center/National Hurricane Center)

    ValueDefinition
    0The barometric pressure is unknown.

    Range of values
    Minimum:888
    Maximum:1024

    Wind_mph
    The measured or estimated wind speed at the time of the advisory, rounded to the nearest 5 miles per hour (Source: National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, NOAA Coastal Services Center)

    Range of values
    Minimum:10.0
    Maximum:190.0


Who produced the data set?

  1. Who are the originators of the data set? (may include formal authors, digital compilers, and editors)

    • National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, Tropical Prediction Center/National Hurricane Center

  2. Who also contributed to the data set?

  3. To whom should users address questions about the data?

    NOAA Coastal Services Center
    Clearinghouse Manager
    2234 South Hobson Avenue
    Charleston, SC 29405-2413
    USA

    843-740-1200 (voice)
    843-740-1315 (FAX)
    clearinghouse@csc.noaa.gov

    Hours_of_Service: Monday - Friday 8:00 AM - 5:00 PM Eastern Time


Why was the data set created?

These data are intended for geographic display and analysis at the national level, and for large regional areas. The data should be displayed and analyzed at scales appropriate for 1:2,000,000-scale data. No responsibility is assumed by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration or the National Atlas of the United States in the use of these data.


How was the data set created?

  1. From what previous works were the data drawn?

    ATL_2004 (source 1 of 1)
    National Oceanic and Atmospheri, Tropical Prediction Center/National Hurr, 200503, Atlantic Tracks File 1851-2004: NOAA National Hurricane Center, Miami, FL.

    Online Links:

    Type_of_Source_Media: Online
    Source_Contribution: Spatial and attribute information.

  2. How were the data generated, processed, and modified?

    Date: Aug-2005 (process 1 of 1)
    Historical track information was downloaded from the National Hurricane Center's Web site. The ASCII text file was formatted into an Arc/INFO table using AML. The INFO table was then processed into a generate file and an attribute table that were converted into an attributed cover.

    Location points are recorded every 6 hours. Each recorded point was associated with a unique line that extends from that point to the next recorded point. Small line segments, approximately 0.0001 degree long, were added to the end of each storm track to retain the final collection point's information. In the source data, tracks that crossed the 0-degree longitude line had negative longitude values even in the eastern hemisphere. These longitude values were converted to the corresponding positive longitude values.

    A limit in the processing software will not allow duplicate points, so where a storm stood still longer than the six-hour collection interval, the next location point was offset approximately 0.0001 degrees to retain relevant information.

    The cover was converted into a shapefile and an SDTS-formatted file.

    Data sources used in this process:

    • ATL_2004

  3. What similar or related data should the user be aware of?

    National Oceanic and Atmospheri, Tropical Prediction Center/National Hurr, 200509, Historical North Atlantic Hurricane Tracks - Major Storms with Landfall in the United States, 1851-2004: National Atlas of the United States, Reston, VA.

    Online Links:

    National Oceanic and Atmospheri, Tropical Prediction Center/National Hurr, 200509, Historical Eastern North Pacific Tropical Cyclone Tracks, 1949-2004: National Atlas of the United States, Reston, VA.

    Online Links:


How reliable are the data; what problems remain in the data set?

  1. How well have the observations been checked?

    Specific accuracy information can be found in Neumann, C.J., B.R. Jarvinen, C.J. McAdie and G.R. Hammer, 1999: Tropical Cyclones of the North Atlantic Ocean, 1871-1999 (fifth revision). NCDC/NHC Historical Climatology Series 6-2, pp.11-14. Similar standards and techniques were applied to the post-1999 data.

  2. How accurate are the geographic locations?

    Over-water portions of storm tracks before 1944 are subject to considerable uncertainties. Aircraft reconnaissance of storms near critical areas was introduced in 1944, and continuous weather satellite surveillance was introduced in the mid-1960s. These two developments allow a high degree of probability that more recent storm center locations were determined with a reasonable degree of accuracy.

  3. How accurate are the heights or depths?

  4. Where are the gaps in the data? What is missing?

    This map layer includes all known Atlantic Basin (Gulf of Mexico, Caribbean Sea, and North Atlantic Ocean) tropical cyclones between 1851 and 2004. The term tropical cyclone as used here refers to subtropical depressions and storms, tropical depressions and storms, and all categories of hurricanes from Category 1 to Category 5. This map layer also includes hybrid systems such as tropical lows, waves, and disturbances, as well as extratropical storms.

  5. How consistent are the relationships among the observations, including topology?

    Over-water portions of storm tracks before 1944 are subject to considerable uncertainties. Aircraft reconnaissance of storms near critical areas was introduced in 1944, and continuous weather satellite surveillance was introduced in the mid-1960s. These two developments mean that more recent storm records have a higher degree of accuracy than those prior to 1944. No tests for logical consistency have been performed on this map layer.


How can someone get a copy of the data set?

Are there legal restrictions on access or use of the data?

Access_Constraints: None
Use_Constraints:
None. Acknowledgement of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, Tropical Prediction Center/National Hurricane Center, the NOAA Coastal Services Center and (or) the National Atlas of the United States of America would be appreciated in products derived from these data.

  1. Who distributes the data set? (Distributor 1 of 1)

    Earth Science Information Center, U.S. Geological Survey
    507 National Center
    Reston, VA 20192

    1-888-ASK-USGS (1-888-275-8747) (voice)

    Contact_Instructions:
    In addition to the address above there are other ESIC offices throughout the country. A full list of these offices is at <http://ask.usgs.gov/esic_index.html>.

  2. What's the catalog number I need to order this data set?

  3. What legal disclaimers am I supposed to read?

    Although these data have been processed successfully on a computer system at the U.S. Geological Survey, no warranty expressed or implied is made by the U.S. Geological Survey or the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration regarding the utility of the data on any other system, nor shall the act of distribution constitute any such warranty. No responsibility is assumed by the U.S. Geological Survey or the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration in the use of these data.

  4. How can I download or order the data?


Who wrote the metadata?

Dates:
Last modified: 19-Jun-2006
Metadata author:
Peg Rawson
National Atlas of the United States
12201 Sunrise Valley Dr
Reston, VA 20192

703-648-4183 (voice)
atlasmail@usgs.gov

Metadata standard:
FGDC Content Standards for Digital Geospatial Metadata (FGDC-STD-001-1998)



 


Generated by mp version 2.9.1 on Mon Aug 21 14:55:46 2006