The Meandering Nature of Tropical Cyclone Tracks

Greg J. Holland Bureau of Meteorology Research Centre, Melbourne, Australia

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Mark Lander University of Guam, Mangilao, Guam

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Abstract

The observed tendency for tropical cyclones to meander about a longer-term track with periods of several days and amplitudes around 100 km is investigated. An analysis of 26 cyclones in the western North Pacific Ocean does not support the theories by Syono and Futi that tropical cyclone track oscillations occur from excitation of inertial oscillations. The observations and related numerical modeling studies also do not support the vortex patch and rotating cylinder theories by Yeh and Kuo. It is suggested that many meanders occur from interactions with mesoscale vortices and convective systems within the cyclone circulation. This hypothesis is supported by a case study of the effects of mesoscale convective complexes that developed in Typhoon Sarah (1989).

Abstract

The observed tendency for tropical cyclones to meander about a longer-term track with periods of several days and amplitudes around 100 km is investigated. An analysis of 26 cyclones in the western North Pacific Ocean does not support the theories by Syono and Futi that tropical cyclone track oscillations occur from excitation of inertial oscillations. The observations and related numerical modeling studies also do not support the vortex patch and rotating cylinder theories by Yeh and Kuo. It is suggested that many meanders occur from interactions with mesoscale vortices and convective systems within the cyclone circulation. This hypothesis is supported by a case study of the effects of mesoscale convective complexes that developed in Typhoon Sarah (1989).

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