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Impact of Secondary Eyewall Heating on Tropical Cyclone Intensity Change

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  • 1 International Pacific Research Center, and Department of Meteorology, School of Ocean and Earth Science and Technology, University of Hawaii at Manoa, Honolulu, Hawaii
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Abstract

The primary goal of this study is to explore the factors that might influence the intensity change of tropical cyclones (TCs) associated with secondary eyewall replacement. Concentric eyewall structures in TCs with and without large intensity weakening are compared using the Tropical Rainfall Measuring Mission (TRMM) 2A12 and 2A25 data. It is found that the secondary eyewalls with a stratiform-type heating profile show a marked weakening, while those TCs with a convective-type heating weaken insignificantly or even intensify. This observed feature is supported by a set of sensitivity numerical experiments performed with the Weather Research and Forecasting model. With more active convection, the latent heat released in the outer eyewall and moat region can better sustain storm intensity. The prevailing stratiform precipitation results in low equivalent potential temperature air in the moat and reduces the entropy of the boundary layer inflow to the inner eyewall through persistent downdrafts, leading to a large intensity fluctuation. Comparison of observations and numerical model results reveals that the model tends to overproduce convective precipitation in the outer eyewall and the moat. It is possible that the model underestimates the storm intensity changes associated with eyewall replacement events.

* School of Ocean and Earth Science and Technology Contribution Number 8040 and International Pacific Research Center Contribution Number 735.

Corresponding author address: Xiaqiong Zhou, University of Hawaii, 2525 Correa Rd., HIG 351A, Honolulu, HI 96822. Email: xiaqiong@hawaii.edu

Abstract

The primary goal of this study is to explore the factors that might influence the intensity change of tropical cyclones (TCs) associated with secondary eyewall replacement. Concentric eyewall structures in TCs with and without large intensity weakening are compared using the Tropical Rainfall Measuring Mission (TRMM) 2A12 and 2A25 data. It is found that the secondary eyewalls with a stratiform-type heating profile show a marked weakening, while those TCs with a convective-type heating weaken insignificantly or even intensify. This observed feature is supported by a set of sensitivity numerical experiments performed with the Weather Research and Forecasting model. With more active convection, the latent heat released in the outer eyewall and moat region can better sustain storm intensity. The prevailing stratiform precipitation results in low equivalent potential temperature air in the moat and reduces the entropy of the boundary layer inflow to the inner eyewall through persistent downdrafts, leading to a large intensity fluctuation. Comparison of observations and numerical model results reveals that the model tends to overproduce convective precipitation in the outer eyewall and the moat. It is possible that the model underestimates the storm intensity changes associated with eyewall replacement events.

* School of Ocean and Earth Science and Technology Contribution Number 8040 and International Pacific Research Center Contribution Number 735.

Corresponding author address: Xiaqiong Zhou, University of Hawaii, 2525 Correa Rd., HIG 351A, Honolulu, HI 96822. Email: xiaqiong@hawaii.edu

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