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The Influences of Boundary Layer Mixing and Cloud-Radiative Forcing on Tropical Cyclone Size

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  • 1 Department of Atmospheric and Oceanic Sciences, University of California, Los Angeles, Los Angeles, California
  • | 2 Department of Atmospheric and Environmental Sciences, University at Albany, State University of New York, Albany, New York
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Abstract

Tropical cyclone (TC) size is an important factor directly and indirectly influencing track, intensity, and related hazards, such as storm surge. Using a semi-idealized version of the operational Hurricane Weather Research and Forecasting Model (HWRF), the authors show that both enabling cloud-radiative forcing (CRF) and enhancing planetary boundary layer (PBL) vertical mixing can encourage wider storms by enhancing TC outer-core convective activity. While CRF acts primarily above the PBL, eddy mixing moistens the boundary layer from below, both making peripheral convection more likely. Thus, these two processes can cooperate and compete, making their influences difficult to deconvolve and complicating the evaluation of model physics improvements, especially since the sensitivity to both decreases as the environment becomes less favorable. Further study shows not only the magnitude of the eddy mixing coefficient but also the shape of it can determine the TC size and structure.

© 2017 American Meteorological Society. For information regarding reuse of this content and general copyright information, consult the AMS Copyright Policy (www.ametsoc.org/PUBSReuseLicenses).

Corresponding author e-mail: Prof. Robert Fovell, rfovell@albany.edu

Abstract

Tropical cyclone (TC) size is an important factor directly and indirectly influencing track, intensity, and related hazards, such as storm surge. Using a semi-idealized version of the operational Hurricane Weather Research and Forecasting Model (HWRF), the authors show that both enabling cloud-radiative forcing (CRF) and enhancing planetary boundary layer (PBL) vertical mixing can encourage wider storms by enhancing TC outer-core convective activity. While CRF acts primarily above the PBL, eddy mixing moistens the boundary layer from below, both making peripheral convection more likely. Thus, these two processes can cooperate and compete, making their influences difficult to deconvolve and complicating the evaluation of model physics improvements, especially since the sensitivity to both decreases as the environment becomes less favorable. Further study shows not only the magnitude of the eddy mixing coefficient but also the shape of it can determine the TC size and structure.

© 2017 American Meteorological Society. For information regarding reuse of this content and general copyright information, consult the AMS Copyright Policy (www.ametsoc.org/PUBSReuseLicenses).

Corresponding author e-mail: Prof. Robert Fovell, rfovell@albany.edu
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