How Spaghetti Models Help Meteorologists Predict a Hurricane's Path

The appetizing name "spaghetti models" actually refers to computer models that show the potential paths of a storm.

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The name "spaghetti model" may sound funny and appetizing, but the reality is that sometimes it generates confusion and concerns, especially during hurricane season.

Technically, spaghetti models refer to lines on a computer model that show the potential paths of a storm.



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During a hurricane warning, meteorologists receive information from 21 possible trajectory models. Those lines, shown together on a map, resemble strands of spaghetti.

"At the meteorological level, the spaghetti models are fundamental to let the audience know both the possible trajectory of a tropical system, as well as the uncertainty involved in the forecast; the closer the lines are together, the more certainty there is about its future position," said Telemundo Houston lead meteorologist Pablo Sanchez.

The greater the coincidence between the different models about the eventual path of a storm, the clearer the picture about the area through which it could pass.

The spaghetti models are based on different types of data. Some are based on statistical probabilities, others on atmospheric dynamics, and a few on the climatology of the moment and atmospheric conditions.

The Global Forecast System and EURO models analyze the most significant data, including physical and atmospheric equations, as well as information received from land, air and ocean at a specific time.

Even though these computer models attempt to establish trajectories, they are not meant to estimate impact levels, size or other effects of storms.

Meteorologists explain that these models are not 100% accurate and that any change in weather conditions will change the interpretation of what may occur later on.

When it comes to hurricanes, there's more to them than meets the eye. Here's where the word "hurricane" comes from and how these powerful storms are different (or not) from cyclones and typhoons.
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