A Multiscale Numerical Study of Hurricane Andrew (1992). Part I: Explicit Simulation and Verification

Yubao Liu Department of Atmospheric and Oceanic Sciences, McGill University, Montreal, Quebec, Canada

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Da-Lin Zhang Department of Meteorology, University of Maryland at College Park, College Park, Maryland

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M. K. Yau Department of Atmospheric and Oceanic Sciences, McGill University, Montreal, Quebec, Canada

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Abstract

In this study, the inner-core structures of Hurricane Andrew (1992) are explicitly simulated using an improved version of the Penn State–NCAR nonhydrostatic, two-way interactive, movable, triply nested grid mesoscale model (MM5). A modified Betts–Miller cumulus parameterization scheme and an explicit microphysics scheme were used simultaneously to simulate the evolution of the larger-scale flows over the coarser-mesh domains. The intense storm itself is explicitly resolved over the finest-mesh domain using a grid size of 6 km and an explicit microphysics package containing prognostic equations for cloud water, ice, rainwater, snow, and graupel. The model is initialized with the National Centers for Environmental Prediction analysis enhanced by a modified moisture field. A model-generated tropical-storm-like vortex was also incorporated. A 72-h integration was made, which covers the stages from the storm’s initial deepening to a near–category 5 hurricane intensity and the landfall over Florida.

As verified against various observations and the best analysis, the model captures reasonably well the evolution and inner-core structures of the storm. In particular, the model reproduces the track, the explosive deepening rate (>1.5 hPa h−1), the minimum surface pressure of 919 hPa preceding landfall, the strong surface wind (>65 m s−1) near the shoreline, as well as the ring of maximum winds, the eye, the eyewall, the spiral rainbands, and other cloud features. Of particular significance is that many simulated kinematics, thermodynamics, and precipitation structures in the core regions compare favorably to previous observations of hurricanes.

The results suggest that it may be possible to predict reasonably the track, intensity, and inner-core structures of hurricanes from the tropical synoptic conditions if high grid resolution, realistic model physics, and proper initial vortices (depth, size, and intensity) in relation to their larger-scale conditions (e.g., SST, moisture content, and vertical shear in the lower troposphere) are incorporated.

Corresponding author address: Dr. Da-Lin Zhang, Department of Meteorology, University of Maryland at College Park, 3433 Computer and Space Sciences Bldg., College Park, MD 20742-2425.

Email: dalin@atmos.umd.edu

Abstract

In this study, the inner-core structures of Hurricane Andrew (1992) are explicitly simulated using an improved version of the Penn State–NCAR nonhydrostatic, two-way interactive, movable, triply nested grid mesoscale model (MM5). A modified Betts–Miller cumulus parameterization scheme and an explicit microphysics scheme were used simultaneously to simulate the evolution of the larger-scale flows over the coarser-mesh domains. The intense storm itself is explicitly resolved over the finest-mesh domain using a grid size of 6 km and an explicit microphysics package containing prognostic equations for cloud water, ice, rainwater, snow, and graupel. The model is initialized with the National Centers for Environmental Prediction analysis enhanced by a modified moisture field. A model-generated tropical-storm-like vortex was also incorporated. A 72-h integration was made, which covers the stages from the storm’s initial deepening to a near–category 5 hurricane intensity and the landfall over Florida.

As verified against various observations and the best analysis, the model captures reasonably well the evolution and inner-core structures of the storm. In particular, the model reproduces the track, the explosive deepening rate (>1.5 hPa h−1), the minimum surface pressure of 919 hPa preceding landfall, the strong surface wind (>65 m s−1) near the shoreline, as well as the ring of maximum winds, the eye, the eyewall, the spiral rainbands, and other cloud features. Of particular significance is that many simulated kinematics, thermodynamics, and precipitation structures in the core regions compare favorably to previous observations of hurricanes.

The results suggest that it may be possible to predict reasonably the track, intensity, and inner-core structures of hurricanes from the tropical synoptic conditions if high grid resolution, realistic model physics, and proper initial vortices (depth, size, and intensity) in relation to their larger-scale conditions (e.g., SST, moisture content, and vertical shear in the lower troposphere) are incorporated.

Corresponding author address: Dr. Da-Lin Zhang, Department of Meteorology, University of Maryland at College Park, 3433 Computer and Space Sciences Bldg., College Park, MD 20742-2425.

Email: dalin@atmos.umd.edu

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