Boundary Layer Recovery and Precipitation Symmetrization Preceding Rapid Intensification of Tropical Cyclones under Shear

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  • 1 NOAA/AOML Hurricane Research Division, Miami, FL, USA
  • 2 Department of Meteorology, University of Reading, Reading, UK
  • 3 University of Miami, Cooperative Institute for Marine and Atmospheric Studies, Miami, FL, USA
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Abstract

This study investigates the precipitation symmetrization preceding rapid intensification (RI) of tropical cyclones (TCs) experiencing vertical wind shear by analyzing numerical simulations of Typhoon Mujigae (2015) with warm (CTL) and relatively cool (S1) sea surface temperatures (SSTs). A novel finding is that precipitation symmetrization is maintained by the continuous development of deep convection along the inward flank of a convective precipitation shield (CPS), especially in the downwind part. Beneath the CPS, downdrafts flush the boundary layer with low-entropy parcels. These low-entropy parcels do not necessarily weaken the TCs; instead, they are “recycled” in the TC circulation, gradually recovered by positive enthalpy fluxes, and develop into convection during their propagation toward a downshear convergence zone. Along-trajectory vertical momentum budget analyses reveal the predominant role of buoyancy acceleration in the convective development in both experiments. The boundary layer recovery is more efficient for warmer SST, and the stronger buoyancy acceleration accounts for the higher probability of these parcels developing into deep convection in the downwind part of the CPS, which helps maintain the precipitation symmetrization in CTL. In contrast, less efficient boundary layer recovery and less upshear deep convection hinder the precipitation symmetrization in S1. These findings highlight the key role of boundary layer recovery in regulating the precipitation symmetrization and upshear deep convection, which further accounts for an earlier RI onset timing of the CTL TC. The inward rebuilding pathway also illuminates why deep convection is preferentially located inside the radius of maximum wind of sheared TCs undergoing RI.

Corresponding author: Dr. Xiaomin Chen (xiaomin.chen@noaa.gov)

Abstract

This study investigates the precipitation symmetrization preceding rapid intensification (RI) of tropical cyclones (TCs) experiencing vertical wind shear by analyzing numerical simulations of Typhoon Mujigae (2015) with warm (CTL) and relatively cool (S1) sea surface temperatures (SSTs). A novel finding is that precipitation symmetrization is maintained by the continuous development of deep convection along the inward flank of a convective precipitation shield (CPS), especially in the downwind part. Beneath the CPS, downdrafts flush the boundary layer with low-entropy parcels. These low-entropy parcels do not necessarily weaken the TCs; instead, they are “recycled” in the TC circulation, gradually recovered by positive enthalpy fluxes, and develop into convection during their propagation toward a downshear convergence zone. Along-trajectory vertical momentum budget analyses reveal the predominant role of buoyancy acceleration in the convective development in both experiments. The boundary layer recovery is more efficient for warmer SST, and the stronger buoyancy acceleration accounts for the higher probability of these parcels developing into deep convection in the downwind part of the CPS, which helps maintain the precipitation symmetrization in CTL. In contrast, less efficient boundary layer recovery and less upshear deep convection hinder the precipitation symmetrization in S1. These findings highlight the key role of boundary layer recovery in regulating the precipitation symmetrization and upshear deep convection, which further accounts for an earlier RI onset timing of the CTL TC. The inward rebuilding pathway also illuminates why deep convection is preferentially located inside the radius of maximum wind of sheared TCs undergoing RI.

Corresponding author: Dr. Xiaomin Chen (xiaomin.chen@noaa.gov)
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