VDM+ Dataset | Dataset Versions and Data Sources

Dataset Versions and Data Sources

Several versions of the Enhanced Vortex Data Message (VDM+) Dataset have now been released. This page provides an overview of the differences between VDM+ releases, provides caveats that users should be aware of, and provides links to pages where users can find much more detail about the raw and processed data sources used to create each respective version of the VDM+ Dataset. On these pages, users can also access the raw VDMs and download stand-alone versions of the NHC Storm Table, Extended Best Track Dataset, and SHIPS Development Dataset in Network Common Data Format (NetCDF).

This page provides details about the following versions of the VDM+ Dataset:

Version 1.000, released to the RPI member companies on 01 December 2013

This was the first formal release of the VDM+ Dataset. This version included data for 382 Atlantic tropical cyclones that occurred during the period 1989 - 2012. A total of 355 parameters are included in the dataset file for this version. Compared with the previous pre-release version (v0.999), this version:

  • Updates the dataset to use the NHC Best Track data from the archive post-season best track b-decks (includes best track revisions for prior years and adds 2012)
  • Updates the Extended Best Track dataset to v2.0.1 (adds Atlantic data for 2012)
  • Updates the SHIPS development dataset (adds data for 2012 and adds 3 new variables: CD20, CD26, and COHC)
  • Adds VDMs for 2012.

To learn more about the data that are included in this version, see:

  • VDM+ v1.000 source data information: Get full details on the data sources used in this version, access the raw VDMs used to build this version, and download stand-alone NetCDF versions of the Extended Best Track and SHIPS Development Datasets used in this version

Version 1.100, released to the public on 25 November 2015

This is the latest version of the VDM+ Dataset. Compared with the previous version (v1.000), this version:

  • Updates the dataset to use the NHC Best Track data from the archive post-season best track b-decks through 2014 (includes recent best track revisions for prior years and adds 2013 - 2014); provisional operational b-deck data are used for 2015
  • Updates the dataset to use v2.03 of the Extended Best Track Dataset, which provides data for Atlantic tropical cyclones through 2014, and for Eastern and Central Pacific basins through 2013
  • Updates the dataset to include environmental parameters from the SHIPS development dataset through 2013
  • Adds VDM data for 2013 - 2015 tropical cyclones
  • Adds VDM data for tropical cyclones that formed in the Eastern Pacific and Central Pacific basins

The updated dataset now includes 6448 unique VDMs from 298 tropical cyclones that were reconnoiterred by aircraft. The dataset also includes data for tropical cyclones which were not surveilled by aircraft, but for which Best Track and/or SHIPS evironmental parameters exist. Counting all of these categories, the dataset includes data for 937 tropical cyclones that occurred from 1989 - 2015.

It is important that users note the following caveats that apply to v1.100:

  • In 2013, the VDM format experienced some minor changes to how certain mandatory remarks are coded in the REMARKS section. The code used to decode and build the VDM+ Dataset from the raw VDMs has now been updated to read the new combined outbound and maximum wind remark type, resulting in a substantial increase in wind maxima data for 2013-2015. The logic change has resulted in a small handful of wind maxima not being read for a few storms in previous years. The missing wind maxima in v1.100 does not result in any substantive changes to the upper bound of intensity for all of the cases that were reviewed. Another change made to the VDM format in 2013 was to start including a remark providing the final wind speed report of dropsondes dropped in the center of the storm. This information can be used to infer the minimum central pressure of the tropical cyclone in instances when the dropsonde did not fall into the precise center. The VDM+ Dataset does not yet decode this new remark type. For more on the changes to the VDM format, please see the red-highlighted markup in the pages 5-6 to 5-9 of Chapter 5 of the 2013 OFCM National Hurricane Operations Plan.
  • The VDM+ Dataset does not include any Extended Best Track data for 2015 Atlantic tropical cyclones or 2014 - 2015 Eastern and Central Pacific tropical cyclones. Because most of the Extended Best Track parameters are now included in the HURDAT2 Best Track (via the ATCF b-decks), this should have little impact on the Best Track-related parameters in the VDM+ Dataset.
  • Because final post-season best-track data were not yet available at the time of the dataset build, v1.100 of the VDM+ Dataset uses the operational working best track data for 2015 tropical cyclones. Additionally, best track data is likely to be omitted from VDM+ for the track portions of any Eastern or Central Pacific tropical cyclones that crossed into the Western Pacific basin. This issue only affects a very small handful of tropical cyclones.
  • VDM data for the tropical cyclone Odile (2008, Eastern Pacific basin) was omitted from the v1.100 of the VDM+ Dataset because the fixes contained errors in the date and/or stormname that could not be reconciled with the Best Track information.

To learn more about the data that are included in v1.100, please see:

  • VDM+ v1.100 source data information: Get full details on the data sources used in this version, access the raw VDMs used to build this version, and download stand-alone NetCDF versions of the Extended Best Track and SHIPS Development Datasets used in this version

 

This page was last updated 25 November 2015 by Jonathan Vigh.