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Contribution of Dissipative Heating to the Intensity Dependence of Tropical Cyclone Intensification

Yuqing WangaInternational Pacific Research Center, University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa, Honolulu, Hawaii
bDepartment of Atmospheric Sciences, University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa, Honolulu, Hawaii

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Jing XucState Key Laboratory of Severe Weather, Chinese Academy of Meteorological Sciences, China Meteorological Administration, Beijing, China

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Zhe-Min TandKey Laboratory of Mesoscale Severe Weather, Ministry of Education, Nanjing University, Nanjing, China
eSchool of the Atmospheric Sciences, Nanjing University, Nanjing, China

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Abstract

Previous studies have demonstrated the contribution of dissipative heating (DH) to the maximum potential intensity (MPI) of tropical cyclones (TCs). Since DH is a function of near-surface wind speed and thus TC intensity, a natural question arises as to whether DH contributes to the intensity dependence of TC potential intensification rate (PIR). To address this issue, an attempt has been made to include DH in a recently developed time-dependent theory of TC intensification. With this addition, the theory predicts a shift of the maximum PIR toward the higher intensity side, which is consistent with the intensity dependence of TC intensification rate in observed strong TCs. Since the theory without DH predicts a dependence of TC PIR on the square of the MPI, the inclusion of DH results in an even higher PIR for strong TCs. Considering the projected increase in TC MPI under global warming, the theoretical work implies that as the climate continues to warm, TCs may intensify more rapidly. This may not only make the TC intensity forecasting more difficult, but also may increase the threats of TCs to the coastal populations if TCs intensify more rapidly just before they make landfall.

Significance Statement

Previous studies have demonstrated that dissipative heating (DH) can significantly contribute to the maximum potential intensity (MPI) that a tropical cyclone (TC) can achieve given favorable environmental thermodynamic conditions of the atmosphere and the underlying ocean. Here we show that because DH is a function of near-surface wind speed and thus TC intensity, DH can also significantly contribute to the intensity dependence of TC potential intensification rate (PIR). This has been demonstrated by introducing DH into a recently developed time-dependent theory of TC intensification. With DH the theory predicts a shift of the maximum PIR toward the higher intensity side as observed in strong TCs. Therefore, as the climate continues to warm, TCs may intensify more rapidly and become stronger.

© 2022 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: Yuqing Wang, yuqing@hawaii.edu

Abstract

Previous studies have demonstrated the contribution of dissipative heating (DH) to the maximum potential intensity (MPI) of tropical cyclones (TCs). Since DH is a function of near-surface wind speed and thus TC intensity, a natural question arises as to whether DH contributes to the intensity dependence of TC potential intensification rate (PIR). To address this issue, an attempt has been made to include DH in a recently developed time-dependent theory of TC intensification. With this addition, the theory predicts a shift of the maximum PIR toward the higher intensity side, which is consistent with the intensity dependence of TC intensification rate in observed strong TCs. Since the theory without DH predicts a dependence of TC PIR on the square of the MPI, the inclusion of DH results in an even higher PIR for strong TCs. Considering the projected increase in TC MPI under global warming, the theoretical work implies that as the climate continues to warm, TCs may intensify more rapidly. This may not only make the TC intensity forecasting more difficult, but also may increase the threats of TCs to the coastal populations if TCs intensify more rapidly just before they make landfall.

Significance Statement

Previous studies have demonstrated that dissipative heating (DH) can significantly contribute to the maximum potential intensity (MPI) that a tropical cyclone (TC) can achieve given favorable environmental thermodynamic conditions of the atmosphere and the underlying ocean. Here we show that because DH is a function of near-surface wind speed and thus TC intensity, DH can also significantly contribute to the intensity dependence of TC potential intensification rate (PIR). This has been demonstrated by introducing DH into a recently developed time-dependent theory of TC intensification. With DH the theory predicts a shift of the maximum PIR toward the higher intensity side as observed in strong TCs. Therefore, as the climate continues to warm, TCs may intensify more rapidly and become stronger.

© 2022 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: Yuqing Wang, yuqing@hawaii.edu
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