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The U S. Navy, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, and the U.S. Air Force have developed a highly effective surveillance system for the tropical cyclone-prone areas of the world. Routine and special weather reports enable accurate detection, location, and tracking of tropical cyclones. International cooperation is effective. These reports originate from land stations, ships at sea, aircraft, weather satellite imagery, and specially instrumented weather reconnaissance aircraft of National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and the U.S. Air Force. Data buoys, both moored and drifting, provide another source of information.
The tropical warning services have three principal functions:
To provide timely and accurate information and warnings regarding tropical cyclones, the oceans have been divided into overlapping geographical areas of responsibility.
For detailed information on the areas of responsibility of the countries participating in the international forecasting and warning program, and radio aids, refer to Selected Worldwide Marine Weather Broadcasts, published jointly by the Naval Meteorology and Oceanography Command and the National Weather Service.
Although the areas of forecasting responsibility are fairly well defined for the Department of Defense, the international and domestic civilian system provides many overlaps and is dependent upon qualitative factors. For example, when a tropical storm or hurricane is traveling westward and crosses 35°W longitude, the continued issuance of forecasts and warnings to the general public, shipping interests, etc., becomes the responsibility of the National Hurricane Center of the National Weather Service at Miami, Florida. When a tropical storm or hurricane crosses 35°W longitude traveling from west to east, the National Hurricane Center ceases to issue formal public advisories, but will issue marine bulletins on any dangerous tropical cyclone in the North Atlantic, if it is of importance or constitutes a threat to shipping and other interests. These advisories are included in National Weather Service Marine Bulletins broadcast to ships over radio station NAM Norfolk, Virginia. Special advisories may be issued at any time. In the Atlantic Ocean, Department of Defense responsibility rests with the Naval Atlantic Meteorology and Oceanography Center in Norfolk, Virginia.
In the eastern Pacific east of longitude 140°W, responsibility for the issuance of tropical storm and hurricane advisories and warnings for the general public, merchant shipping, and other interests rests with the National Weather Service Eastern Pacific Hurricane Center, San Francisco, California. The Department of Defense responsibility rests with the Naval Pacific Meteorology and Oceanography Center, Pearl Harbor, Hawaii. Formal advisories and warnings are issued daily and are included in the marine bulletins broadcast by radio stations KFS, NMC, and NMQ.
In the central Pacific (between the meridian and longitude 140°W), the civilian responsibility rests with the National Weather Service Central Pacific Hurricane Center, Honolulu, Hawaii. Department of Defense responsibility rests with the Naval Pacific Meteorology and Oceanography Center in Pearl Harbor. Formal tropical storm and hurricane advisories and warnings are issued daily and are included in the marine bulletins broadcast by radio station NMO and NRV.
Tropical cyclone messages contain position of the storm, intensity, direction and speed of movement, and a description of the area of strong winds. Included is a fore- cast of future movement and intensity. When the storm is likely to affect any land area, details on when and where it will be felt, and data on tides, rain, floods, and maximum winds are also included. Figure below provides an example of a marine advisory issued by the National Hurricane Center.
The Naval Pacific Meteorology and Oceanography Center Center-West/Joint Typhoon Warning Center (NPMOC-W/JTWC) in Guam is responsible for all U.S. tropical storm and typhoon advisories and warnings from the 180th meridian westward to the mainland of Asia. A secondary area of responsibility extends westward to longitude 90°E. Whenever a tropical cyclone is observed in the western North Pacific area, serially numbered warnings, bearing an "immediate" precedence are broadcast from the NPMOC-W/JTWC at 0000, 0600, 1200, and 1800 GMT.
The responsibility for issuing gale and storm warnings for the Indian Ocean, Arabian Sea, Bay of Bengal,Western Pacific, and South Pacific rests with many countries. In general, warnings of approaching tropical cyclones will include the nofollowing information: storm type, central pressure given in hPa, wind speed observed within the storm, storm location, speed and direction of movement, the extent of the affected area, visibility, and the state of the sea, as well as any other pertinent information received. All storm warning messages commence with the international call sign "TTT."
These warnings are broadcast on specified radio frequency bands immediately upon receipt of the information and at specific intervals thereafter. Generally, the broadcast interval is every 6 to 8 hours, depending upon receipt of new information.
Bulletins and forecasts are excellent guides to the present and future behavior of the tropical cyclone, and a plot should be kept of all positions.