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NOAA > NWS > CPHC Home Page > Hurricane Awareness Week > Models
Hurricane Awareness Week
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Models

To forecast the track and intensity of tropical cyclones, the CPHC uses several mathematical computer models that represent the tropical cyclone and its environment in a greatly simplified manner. Each of the models has particular strengths and weaknesses, and researchers are constantly working to improve them.

If you read the hurricane discussions (described in the products subsection), you will see forecasters referring to different models and giving their reasons why they think particular models are doing a better job of representing current and future conditions. Acronyms for models commonly discussed are GFDL, CLIPER, AVN, LBAR, BAM, NOGAPS (the U.S. Navy's model), and UKMET (the model run by the United Kingdom's Meteorological Service). These are all track models. Intensity model acronyms include SHIFOR, SHIPS, and GFDL.

Numerical models have different strengths and biases and often produce conflicting guidance. Hurricane forecasters use their knowledge and experience to decide which models are best describing the movement and behavior of each individual cyclone at any particular time. The dregree of confidence a forecaster places in the model guidance used is reflected in the discussion of probabilities and margin of error. Emergency managers and civil defense planners must consider this uncertainty in planning for storm impacts and landfall locations to account for conditions that may be worse than forecast.