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Large-Scale Flow Patterns and Their Influence on the Intensification Rates of Western North Pacific Tropical Storms

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  • 1 Department of Meteorology, University of Hawaii at Manoa, Honolulu, Hawaii
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Abstract

NCEP–NCAR reanalysis data are used to identify large-scale environmental flow patterns around western North Pacific tropical storms with the goal of finding a signal for those most favorable for rapid intensification, based on the hypothesis that aspects of the horizontal flow influence tropical cyclone intensification at an early stage of development. Based on the finding that intensification rate is a strong function of initial intensity (Joint Typhoon Warning Center best track), very rapid, rapid, and slow 24-h intensification periods from a weak tropical storm stage (35 kt) are defined. By using composite analysis and scalar EOF analysis of the zonal wind around these subsets, a form of the lower-level (850 mb) combined monsoon confluence–shearline pattern is found to occur dominantly for the very rapid cases. Based on the strength of the signal, it may provide a new rapid intensification predictor for operational use. At 200 mb the importance of the location of the tropical storm under a region of flow splitting into the midlatitude westerlies to the north and the subequatorial trough to the south is identified as a common criterion for the onset of rapid intensification. Cases in which interactions with upper-level troughs occurred, prior to and during slow and rapid intensification, are studied and strong similarities to prior Atlantic studies are found.

Corresponding author address: Justin Ventham, Department of Meteorology, University of Hawaii at Manoa, 2525 Correa Rd., Honolulu, HI 96822. Email: ventham@hawaii.edu

Abstract

NCEP–NCAR reanalysis data are used to identify large-scale environmental flow patterns around western North Pacific tropical storms with the goal of finding a signal for those most favorable for rapid intensification, based on the hypothesis that aspects of the horizontal flow influence tropical cyclone intensification at an early stage of development. Based on the finding that intensification rate is a strong function of initial intensity (Joint Typhoon Warning Center best track), very rapid, rapid, and slow 24-h intensification periods from a weak tropical storm stage (35 kt) are defined. By using composite analysis and scalar EOF analysis of the zonal wind around these subsets, a form of the lower-level (850 mb) combined monsoon confluence–shearline pattern is found to occur dominantly for the very rapid cases. Based on the strength of the signal, it may provide a new rapid intensification predictor for operational use. At 200 mb the importance of the location of the tropical storm under a region of flow splitting into the midlatitude westerlies to the north and the subequatorial trough to the south is identified as a common criterion for the onset of rapid intensification. Cases in which interactions with upper-level troughs occurred, prior to and during slow and rapid intensification, are studied and strong similarities to prior Atlantic studies are found.

Corresponding author address: Justin Ventham, Department of Meteorology, University of Hawaii at Manoa, 2525 Correa Rd., Honolulu, HI 96822. Email: ventham@hawaii.edu

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