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Quantifying Surface Energy Fluxes in the Vicinity of Inland-Tracking Tropical Cyclones

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  • 1 University of Georgia, Athens, Georgia
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Abstract

Tropical cyclones (TCs) typically weaken or transition to extratropical cyclones after making landfall. However, there are cases of TCs maintaining warm-core structures and intensifying inland unexpectedly, referred to as TC maintenance or intensification events (TCMIs). It has been proposed that wet soils create an atmosphere conducive to TC maintenance by enhancing surface latent heat flux (LHF). In this study, “HYDRUS-1D” is used to simulate the surface energy balance in intensification regions leading up to four different TCMIs. Specifically, the 2-week magnitudes and trends of soil temperature, sensible heat flux (SHF), and LHF are analyzed and compared across regions. While TCMIs are most common over northern Australia, theoretically linked to large fluxes from hot sands, the results revealed that SHF and LHF are equally large over the south-central United States. Modern-Era Retrospective Analysis for Research and Applications (MERRA) 3-hourly LHF data were obtained for the same HYDRUS study regions as well as nearby ocean regions along the TC path 3 days prior (prestorm) to the TC appearance. Results indicate that the simulated prestorm mean LHF is similar in magnitude to that obtained from MERRA, with slightly lower values overall. The modeled 3-day mean fluxes over land are less than those found over the ocean; however, the maximum LHF over the 3-day period is greater over land (HYDRUS) than over the ocean (MERRA) for three of four cases. It is concluded that LHF inland can achieve similar magnitudes to that over the ocean during the daytime and should be pursued as a potential energy source for inland TCs.

Corresponding author address: Theresa Andersen, Department of Geography, University of Georgia, Room 31A, Athens, GA 30602. E-mail: tkande@uga.edu

Abstract

Tropical cyclones (TCs) typically weaken or transition to extratropical cyclones after making landfall. However, there are cases of TCs maintaining warm-core structures and intensifying inland unexpectedly, referred to as TC maintenance or intensification events (TCMIs). It has been proposed that wet soils create an atmosphere conducive to TC maintenance by enhancing surface latent heat flux (LHF). In this study, “HYDRUS-1D” is used to simulate the surface energy balance in intensification regions leading up to four different TCMIs. Specifically, the 2-week magnitudes and trends of soil temperature, sensible heat flux (SHF), and LHF are analyzed and compared across regions. While TCMIs are most common over northern Australia, theoretically linked to large fluxes from hot sands, the results revealed that SHF and LHF are equally large over the south-central United States. Modern-Era Retrospective Analysis for Research and Applications (MERRA) 3-hourly LHF data were obtained for the same HYDRUS study regions as well as nearby ocean regions along the TC path 3 days prior (prestorm) to the TC appearance. Results indicate that the simulated prestorm mean LHF is similar in magnitude to that obtained from MERRA, with slightly lower values overall. The modeled 3-day mean fluxes over land are less than those found over the ocean; however, the maximum LHF over the 3-day period is greater over land (HYDRUS) than over the ocean (MERRA) for three of four cases. It is concluded that LHF inland can achieve similar magnitudes to that over the ocean during the daytime and should be pursued as a potential energy source for inland TCs.

Corresponding author address: Theresa Andersen, Department of Geography, University of Georgia, Room 31A, Athens, GA 30602. E-mail: tkande@uga.edu
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