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Contrasting Behaviors between the Rapidly Intensifying and Slowly Intensifying Tropical Cyclones in the North Atlantic and Eastern Pacific Basins

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  • 1 Department of Earth and Environment, Florida International University, Miami, Florida
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Abstract

Based on 35-yr (1982–2016) best track and Statistical Hurricane Intensity Prediction Scheme data, this study examined climatology of rapidly intensifying (RI) and slowly intensifying (SI) events as well as their time evolutions of storm-related and environmental parameters for tropical cyclones (TCs) in both North Atlantic (AL) and eastern North Pacific (EP) basins. Major hurricanes were intensified mainly through RI while tropical depression and tropical storms were intensified through SI. The percentage of TCs that underwent RI peaks in the late hurricane season whereas the percentage of TCs that underwent SI peaks early. For the first time in the literature, this study found that RI events have significantly different storm-related and environmental characteristics than SI events for before-, during-, and after-event stages. In both AL and EP basins, RI events always intensify significantly faster during the previous 12 h, are located farther south, and have warmer sea surface and 200-hPa temperatures, greater ocean heat content, larger 200-hPa divergence, weaker vertical wind shear, and weaker 200-hPa westerly flow than SI events for all event-relative stages. In the AL basin, RI events have larger low-level and midlevel relative humidity and larger 850-hPa relative vorticity than SI events for all event-relative stages in the AL and most event-relative stages in the EP. RI events are associated with more convectively unstable atmosphere and are farther away from their maximum potential intensities than SI events for most event-relative stages in the AL and for all event-relative stages in the EP.

© 2021 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: Haiyan Jiang, haiyan.jiang@fiu.edu

Abstract

Based on 35-yr (1982–2016) best track and Statistical Hurricane Intensity Prediction Scheme data, this study examined climatology of rapidly intensifying (RI) and slowly intensifying (SI) events as well as their time evolutions of storm-related and environmental parameters for tropical cyclones (TCs) in both North Atlantic (AL) and eastern North Pacific (EP) basins. Major hurricanes were intensified mainly through RI while tropical depression and tropical storms were intensified through SI. The percentage of TCs that underwent RI peaks in the late hurricane season whereas the percentage of TCs that underwent SI peaks early. For the first time in the literature, this study found that RI events have significantly different storm-related and environmental characteristics than SI events for before-, during-, and after-event stages. In both AL and EP basins, RI events always intensify significantly faster during the previous 12 h, are located farther south, and have warmer sea surface and 200-hPa temperatures, greater ocean heat content, larger 200-hPa divergence, weaker vertical wind shear, and weaker 200-hPa westerly flow than SI events for all event-relative stages. In the AL basin, RI events have larger low-level and midlevel relative humidity and larger 850-hPa relative vorticity than SI events for all event-relative stages in the AL and most event-relative stages in the EP. RI events are associated with more convectively unstable atmosphere and are farther away from their maximum potential intensities than SI events for most event-relative stages in the AL and for all event-relative stages in the EP.

© 2021 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: Haiyan Jiang, haiyan.jiang@fiu.edu
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