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Hurricane Intensity and Structure Algorithm (HISA)

HISA uses satellite microwave temperature retrievals as an input to estimate tropical cyclone intensity. The estimates are global, objective, and independent of Dvorak intensity estimates.HISA was first developed at CIRA in 2004 using input from the statistical temperature retrievals from the Advanced Microwave Sounding Units (AMSU) onboard NOAA-15 and NOAA-16. Several upgrades have been made to HISA since 2004. Operational versions of HISA with both statistical and MIRS temperature and CLW retrievals from microwave sounders have been used from seven polar-orbiting satellites, including NOAA-15, NOAA-16, NOAA-18, NOAA-19, METOP-A, METOP-B, and S-NPP, providing up to 14 intensity estimates per-storm per-day.

Currently, HISA estimates from NOAA-15, -18, -19 and S-NPP are available.  HISA is also being adapted to work with NOAA-20 ATMS-MIRS retrievals. In addition to maximum sustained winds, minimum sea-level pressure, and estimates of 34-, 50-, and 64-kt wind radii are available to operational forecasters at the National Hurricane Center (NHC), Central Pacific Hurricane Center, and Joint Typhoon Warning Center (JTWC) via Automated Tropical Cyclone Forecasting System (ATCF) F-Decks.

HISA is providing azimuthally averaged gradient winds and 2-D balanced winds at standard pressure levels that are provided in NetCDF format. Recently, work has begun on adapting HISA to use as input data obtained from Time-Resolved Observations of Precipitation structure and storm Intensity with a Constellation of Smallsats (TROPICS). TROPICS is currently planned to include a constellation of six Smallsats, all of which will be carrying ATMS-like instruments. Unlike ATMS that has 22 temperature and moisture channels ranging from 23 GHz to 191 GHz, TROPICS Radiometers (TR) only have 12 channels, ranging from 91 GHz to 205 GHz.

Algorithm Flowchart


Chirokova G. and D. Herndon, 2022: Use of Satellite Data for Operational Tropical Cyclone Analysis and Forecasting. 2022 AMS SatMOC Virtual Short Course, 30 June 2022.

Bessho, K., M. DeMaria and J.A. Knaff, 2006: Tropical cyclone wind retrievals from the Advanced Microwave Sounder Unit (AMSU): Application to surface wind analysis. J. Appl. Meteor45, 399-415.

Demuth, J.L., M. DeMaria, and J.A. Knaff, 2006: Improvement of advanced microwave sounding unit tropical cyclone intensity and size estimation algorithms. J. Appl. Meteor., 45, 1573-1581.

Demuth, J.L., M. DeMaria, J.A. Knaff, and T.H. Vonder Haar, 2004: Evaluation of Advanced Microwave Sounder Unit tropical cyclone intensity and size estimation algorithms. J. Appl. Meteor., 43, 282-296.

Project Team Members

  • John Knaff (NOAA/NESDIS)
  • Galina Chirokova( (CIRA/CSU)
  • Mark DeMaria (CIRA/CSU, formerly NOAA/NESDIS and NOAA/NHC)
  • Robert DeMaria (CIRA/CSU)
  • Jack Dostalek (CIRA/CSU)
  • Andrea Schumacher (CIRA/CSU)

This page last updated: 2023-01-04 at 2145 (GMT-7) by GPD

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