Document Type



Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)



First Advisor's Name

Hugh Willoughby

First Advisor's Committee Title

committee chair

Second Advisor's Name

Ping Zhu

Second Advisor's Committee Title

committee member

Third Advisor's Name

Chris Landsea

Third Advisor's Committee Title

committee member

Fourth Advisor's Name

Robert Burgman

Fourth Advisor's Committee Title

committee member

Fifth Advisor's Name

Shu Chin-Chen

Fifth Advisor's Committee Title

committee member


tropical cyclones, passive microwave satellite imagery

Date of Defense



This research expanded the understanding of the 37 GHz color composite imagery of tropical cyclones (using the Naval Research Lab Monterey image archive), by improved identification of precipitation types uniquely observed on this imagery, aided by creation of a conceptual model. This model distinguished between stratiform and convective rain, and identified the cyan color on this imagery as being warm rain from shallow and moderate convection, or "SAM." Patterns of SAM on this imagery uniquely identify tropical cyclone features: an early indicator of the onset of rapid intensification and early eyewall replacement cycles, both previously unobserved. These are identified by early eye development of a symmetric shallow convective ring now understood to be a "SAM ring." A forecast methodology created for the RI indicator was introduced globally to Regional Specialized Meteorological Centers. It has been suggested that this contributed to some improvement in NHC intensity forecasts in the past decade. The 37color imagery also depicts precipitation patterns of sheared tropical cyclones, subtropical cyclones, monsoon trough development and intense tropical cyclones, and is used to develop a supplement to the Dvorak current intensity technique. The need for a passive microwave repository based on the tropical cyclone life cycle is identified. The Hurricane Camille reanalysis is presented, with additional material including an explanation for the unusual sea state contributing to the original HURDAT landfall intensity.



Previously Published In

Kieper, M. E., & Jiang, H. (2012). Predicting tropical cyclone rapid intensification using the 37 GHz ring pattern identified from passive microwave measurements. Geophysical Research Letters, 39(13).

Kieper, M. E., Landsea, C. W., & Beven, J. L. (2016). A reanalysis of Hurricane Camille. Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society, 97(3), 367-384.

Camillecopyright_slow.gif (5132 kB)
Constructed Camille Radar Loop from 1969 WSR-57 archived images

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