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Mesoscale Structural Evolution of Three Tropical Weather Systems Observed during PREDICT

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  • 1 National Center for Atmospheric Research,* Boulder, Colorado
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Abstract

Three well-observed Atlantic tropical weather systems that occurred during the 2010 hurricane season are analyzed. One case was former Tropical Storm Gaston that failed to redevelop into a tropical cyclone; the other two cases were developing storms Karl and Matthew. Geostationary satellite, multisensor-derived precipitation, and dropsondes from the National Science Foundation (NSF)–NCAR Gulfstream V (GV), NASA DC-8, and the NOAA Gulfstream IV (G-IV) and WP-3D Orion (P-3) aircraft are analyzed in a system-following frame to quantify the mesoscale dynamics of these systems.

Gaston featured extensive dry air surrounding an initially moist core. Vertical shear forced a misalignment of midtropospheric and lower-tropospheric circulation centers. This misalignment allowed dry air to intrude above the lower-tropospheric center and severely limited the area influenced by deep moist convection, thus providing little chance of maintaining or rebuilding the vortex in sheared flow. By contrast, Karl and Matthew developed in a moister environment overall, with moisture increasing with time in the middle and upper troposphere. Deep moist convection was quasi-diurnal prior to genesis. For Karl, deep convection was initially organized away from the lower-tropospheric circulation center, creating a misalignment of the vortex. The vortex gradually realigned over several days and genesis followed this realignment within roughly one day. Matthew experienced weaker shear, was vertically aligned through most of its early evolution, and developed more rapidly than Karl. The evolutions of the three cases are interpreted in the context of recent theories of tropical cyclone formation.

The National Center for Atmospheric Research is sponsored by the National Science Foundation.

Corresponding author address: Christopher A. Davis, NCAR, P.O. Box 3000, Boulder, CO 80307. E-mail: cdavis@ucar.edu

Abstract

Three well-observed Atlantic tropical weather systems that occurred during the 2010 hurricane season are analyzed. One case was former Tropical Storm Gaston that failed to redevelop into a tropical cyclone; the other two cases were developing storms Karl and Matthew. Geostationary satellite, multisensor-derived precipitation, and dropsondes from the National Science Foundation (NSF)–NCAR Gulfstream V (GV), NASA DC-8, and the NOAA Gulfstream IV (G-IV) and WP-3D Orion (P-3) aircraft are analyzed in a system-following frame to quantify the mesoscale dynamics of these systems.

Gaston featured extensive dry air surrounding an initially moist core. Vertical shear forced a misalignment of midtropospheric and lower-tropospheric circulation centers. This misalignment allowed dry air to intrude above the lower-tropospheric center and severely limited the area influenced by deep moist convection, thus providing little chance of maintaining or rebuilding the vortex in sheared flow. By contrast, Karl and Matthew developed in a moister environment overall, with moisture increasing with time in the middle and upper troposphere. Deep moist convection was quasi-diurnal prior to genesis. For Karl, deep convection was initially organized away from the lower-tropospheric circulation center, creating a misalignment of the vortex. The vortex gradually realigned over several days and genesis followed this realignment within roughly one day. Matthew experienced weaker shear, was vertically aligned through most of its early evolution, and developed more rapidly than Karl. The evolutions of the three cases are interpreted in the context of recent theories of tropical cyclone formation.

The National Center for Atmospheric Research is sponsored by the National Science Foundation.

Corresponding author address: Christopher A. Davis, NCAR, P.O. Box 3000, Boulder, CO 80307. E-mail: cdavis@ucar.edu
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