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A Diagnostic Study of the Intensity of Three Tropical Cyclones in the Australian Region. Part I: A Synopsis of Observed Features of Tropical Cyclone Kathy (1984)

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  • 1 School of Earth Sciences, University of Melbourne, Parkville, Australia
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Abstract

Objective streamline analyses and digitized high-resolution IR satellite cloud data have been used to examine in detail the changes in the environmental circulation and in the cloud structure that took place in and around Tropical Cyclone Kathy (1984) when it started to intensify, and during its intensification and dissipation stages. The change of low-level circulation around Tropical Cyclone Kathy was measured by the change in the angle of inflow (α4) at a radius of 4° latitude from the cyclone center. When Kathy started to intensify, α4 increased suddenly from 20° to 42.5° in the northerly airstream to the north and northeast of the depression, and decreased to 0° to the south of the depression. At that stage the low-level circulation around the depression appeared as a giant swirl that started some 600 km to the north and northeast of the depression and spiraled inward toward its center, while trade air, which is usually cool, dry, and stable, did not enter the cyclonic circulation. The angle α4 remained the same during intensification. During the dissipation stage, α4 returned to 20° and trade air started to participate in the cyclonic circulation.

Satellite cloud data were used to determine the origin, evolution, and importance of the feeder bands in the intensification of the cyclone, to follow the moist near-equatorial air that flowed through them and to estimate the maximum height of cumulonimbi that developed in them, to observe the changes in the convective activity in the central dense overcast (CDO) area, as well as in the area around the CDO. Most of the observed changes in Kathy have also been observed in other tropical cyclones during intensification and dissipation.

Using the sequence of observed changes of the circulation and of convective activity in and around the CDO of Kathy, a mathematical model has been developed to forecast the intensity of a tropical cyclone. The model and its application to three tropical cyclones in the Australian region are described in of this paper.

Corresponding author address: Kevin Walsh, School of Earth Sciences, University of Melbourne, Parkville VIC, 3010 Australia. Email: kevin.walsh@unimelb.edu.au

Abstract

Objective streamline analyses and digitized high-resolution IR satellite cloud data have been used to examine in detail the changes in the environmental circulation and in the cloud structure that took place in and around Tropical Cyclone Kathy (1984) when it started to intensify, and during its intensification and dissipation stages. The change of low-level circulation around Tropical Cyclone Kathy was measured by the change in the angle of inflow (α4) at a radius of 4° latitude from the cyclone center. When Kathy started to intensify, α4 increased suddenly from 20° to 42.5° in the northerly airstream to the north and northeast of the depression, and decreased to 0° to the south of the depression. At that stage the low-level circulation around the depression appeared as a giant swirl that started some 600 km to the north and northeast of the depression and spiraled inward toward its center, while trade air, which is usually cool, dry, and stable, did not enter the cyclonic circulation. The angle α4 remained the same during intensification. During the dissipation stage, α4 returned to 20° and trade air started to participate in the cyclonic circulation.

Satellite cloud data were used to determine the origin, evolution, and importance of the feeder bands in the intensification of the cyclone, to follow the moist near-equatorial air that flowed through them and to estimate the maximum height of cumulonimbi that developed in them, to observe the changes in the convective activity in the central dense overcast (CDO) area, as well as in the area around the CDO. Most of the observed changes in Kathy have also been observed in other tropical cyclones during intensification and dissipation.

Using the sequence of observed changes of the circulation and of convective activity in and around the CDO of Kathy, a mathematical model has been developed to forecast the intensity of a tropical cyclone. The model and its application to three tropical cyclones in the Australian region are described in of this paper.

Corresponding author address: Kevin Walsh, School of Earth Sciences, University of Melbourne, Parkville VIC, 3010 Australia. Email: kevin.walsh@unimelb.edu.au

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