On the Ability of Dry Tropical-Cyclone-like Vortices to Withstand Vertical Shear

Sarah C. Jones Meteorologisches Institut, Universität München, Munich, Germany

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Abstract

The ability of dry tropical-cyclone-like vortices to resist vertical shear is discussed. An idealized model calculation is presented in which a dry vortex remains nearly upright during 4 days under the influence of environmental vertical shear. It is shown that the outer portion of the vortex tilts more strongly than the inner core and that the pattern of vertical velocity is related to the vertical tilt of the outer portion of the vortex. This result is discussed with relation to observations of the location of convection in tropical cyclones. An alternative definition of the vortex center is proposed for cases in which the vertical tilt of the vortex is of importance. The average vertical shear across the center of the vortex is shown to depend on both the vortex tilt and the presence of large-scale potential vorticity asymmetries in the outer regions of the vortex. The average vertical shear is a function of time and of the area of the circle over which the averaging is carried out. Thus, the initial environmental shear may not be a reliable measure of the vertical shear felt by the vortex at later times.

Corresponding author address: Dr. Sarah C. Jones, Meteorologisches Institut, Universität München, Theresienstr. 37, 80333 Munich, Germany. Email: sarah@meteo.physik.uni-muenchen.de

Abstract

The ability of dry tropical-cyclone-like vortices to resist vertical shear is discussed. An idealized model calculation is presented in which a dry vortex remains nearly upright during 4 days under the influence of environmental vertical shear. It is shown that the outer portion of the vortex tilts more strongly than the inner core and that the pattern of vertical velocity is related to the vertical tilt of the outer portion of the vortex. This result is discussed with relation to observations of the location of convection in tropical cyclones. An alternative definition of the vortex center is proposed for cases in which the vertical tilt of the vortex is of importance. The average vertical shear across the center of the vortex is shown to depend on both the vortex tilt and the presence of large-scale potential vorticity asymmetries in the outer regions of the vortex. The average vertical shear is a function of time and of the area of the circle over which the averaging is carried out. Thus, the initial environmental shear may not be a reliable measure of the vertical shear felt by the vortex at later times.

Corresponding author address: Dr. Sarah C. Jones, Meteorologisches Institut, Universität München, Theresienstr. 37, 80333 Munich, Germany. Email: sarah@meteo.physik.uni-muenchen.de

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