|HOW IS THE CENTER|
OF A TROPICAL SYSTEM DETERMINED?
METEOROLOGIST JEFF HABY
The center of a tropical system is that point that has the lowest pressure. When a system is developing the
center is the approximate location that should have the lowest pressure. Once a tropical system becomes a
tropical storm or
hurricane then it is easier to find the center.
When a tropical system is developing the center can be determined by locating the axis of cloud rotation
on satellite. Sometimes it can not be found on satellite especially if it is just developing. Hurricane
Hunter aircraft measurements and dropsonde data from the aircraft can be used to help find the center. Sometimes
quite a bit of data collection has to be done before the center is found.
Once the tropical system becomes more organized the center is at the axis of rotation of the spiraling clouds.
Typically an eye will become visible once the tropical system becomes a hurricane. The center is
the exact center of the eye. When a hurricane makes landfall, the point of landfall is that point
in the center of the eye.