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Parameter Study of Tropical Cyclones in Rotating Radiative–Convective Equilibrium with Column Physics and Resolution of a 25-km GCM

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  • 1 Atmospheric and Oceanic Sciences Program, Princeton University, Princeton, New Jersey
  • | 2 NOAA/Geophysical Fluid Dynamics Laboratory, Princeton, New Jersey
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Abstract

Rotating radiative–convective equilibrium is studied by extracting the column physics of a mesoscale-resolution global atmospheric model that simulates realistic hurricane frequency statistics and then coupling it to rotating hydrostatic dynamics in doubly periodic domains. The parameter study helps in understanding the tropical cyclones simulated in the global model and also provides a reference point for analogous studies with cloud-resolving models.

The authors first examine the sensitivity of the equilibrium achieved in a large square domain (2 × 104 km on a side) to sea surface temperature, ambient rotation rate, and surface drag coefficient. In such a large domain, multiple tropical cyclones exist simultaneously. The size and intensity of these tropical cyclones are investigated.

The variation of rotating radiative–convective equilibrium with domain size is also studied. As domain size increases, the equilibrium evolves through four regimes: a single tropical depression, an intermittent tropical cyclone with widely varying intensity, a single sustained storm, and finally multiple storms. As SST increases or ambient rotation rate f decreases, the sustained storm regime shifts toward larger domain size. The storm’s natural extent in large domains can be understood from this regime behavior.

The radius of maximum surface wind, although only marginally resolved, increases with SST and increases with f for small f when the domain is large enough. These parameter dependencies can be modified or even reversed if the domain is smaller than the storm’s natural extent.

Corresponding author address: Wenyu Zhou, Atmospheric and Oceanic Sciences Program, Princeton University, 300 Forrestal Road, Sayre Hall, Princeton, NJ 08544. E-mail: wenyuz@princeton.edu

Abstract

Rotating radiative–convective equilibrium is studied by extracting the column physics of a mesoscale-resolution global atmospheric model that simulates realistic hurricane frequency statistics and then coupling it to rotating hydrostatic dynamics in doubly periodic domains. The parameter study helps in understanding the tropical cyclones simulated in the global model and also provides a reference point for analogous studies with cloud-resolving models.

The authors first examine the sensitivity of the equilibrium achieved in a large square domain (2 × 104 km on a side) to sea surface temperature, ambient rotation rate, and surface drag coefficient. In such a large domain, multiple tropical cyclones exist simultaneously. The size and intensity of these tropical cyclones are investigated.

The variation of rotating radiative–convective equilibrium with domain size is also studied. As domain size increases, the equilibrium evolves through four regimes: a single tropical depression, an intermittent tropical cyclone with widely varying intensity, a single sustained storm, and finally multiple storms. As SST increases or ambient rotation rate f decreases, the sustained storm regime shifts toward larger domain size. The storm’s natural extent in large domains can be understood from this regime behavior.

The radius of maximum surface wind, although only marginally resolved, increases with SST and increases with f for small f when the domain is large enough. These parameter dependencies can be modified or even reversed if the domain is smaller than the storm’s natural extent.

Corresponding author address: Wenyu Zhou, Atmospheric and Oceanic Sciences Program, Princeton University, 300 Forrestal Road, Sayre Hall, Princeton, NJ 08544. E-mail: wenyuz@princeton.edu
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