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Sensitivity of the Simulated Tropical Cyclone Inner-Core Size to the Initial Vortex Size

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  • 1 International Pacific Research Center, and Department of Meteorology, University of Hawaii at Manoa, Honolulu, Hawaii
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Abstract

The multiply nested, fully compressible, nonhydrostatic tropical cyclone model version 4 (TCM4) is used to examine and understand the sensitivity of the simulated tropical cyclone (TC) inner-core size to its initial vortex size. The results show that although the simulated TC intensity at the mature stage is weakly dependent on the initial vortex size for the general settings, the simulated TC inner-core size is largely determined by the initial vortex size. The initial vortex size is critical to both the energy input from the ocean and the effectiveness of the inward angular momentum transport by the transverse circulation driven by eyewall convection and diabatic heating in spiral rainbands.

Strong outer winds in a storm with a large initial size lead to large entropy fluxes to a large radial extent outside the eyewall, favoring the development of active spiral rainbands. Latent heat released in spiral rainbands plays a key role in increasing the low-level radial inflow and accelerating tangential winds outside the eyewall, leading to outward expansion of tangential wind fields and thus increasing the inner-core size of the simulated storm. On the contrary, a storm with a small initial size has weaker outer winds and smaller surface entropy fluxes outside the eyewall and is accompanied by less active spiral rainbands and thus a much slower increase in the inner-core size. The effectiveness of the inward transport of absolute angular momentum to increase the tangential winds outside the eyewall is largely determined by the radial extent of the vertical absolute vorticity, which is shown to be higher in a large size vortex.

The relative importance of the initial vortex size and the environmental relative humidity (RH) to the TC inner-core size is also evaluated. It is found that the inner-core size of the simulated storm at the mature stage depends more heavily on the initial vortex size than on the initial RH of the environment.

Corresponding author address: Dr. Yuqing Wang, IPRC/SOEST, University of Hawaii at Manoa, 1680 East–West Road, Honolulu, HI 96822. Email: yuqing@hawaii.edu

Abstract

The multiply nested, fully compressible, nonhydrostatic tropical cyclone model version 4 (TCM4) is used to examine and understand the sensitivity of the simulated tropical cyclone (TC) inner-core size to its initial vortex size. The results show that although the simulated TC intensity at the mature stage is weakly dependent on the initial vortex size for the general settings, the simulated TC inner-core size is largely determined by the initial vortex size. The initial vortex size is critical to both the energy input from the ocean and the effectiveness of the inward angular momentum transport by the transverse circulation driven by eyewall convection and diabatic heating in spiral rainbands.

Strong outer winds in a storm with a large initial size lead to large entropy fluxes to a large radial extent outside the eyewall, favoring the development of active spiral rainbands. Latent heat released in spiral rainbands plays a key role in increasing the low-level radial inflow and accelerating tangential winds outside the eyewall, leading to outward expansion of tangential wind fields and thus increasing the inner-core size of the simulated storm. On the contrary, a storm with a small initial size has weaker outer winds and smaller surface entropy fluxes outside the eyewall and is accompanied by less active spiral rainbands and thus a much slower increase in the inner-core size. The effectiveness of the inward transport of absolute angular momentum to increase the tangential winds outside the eyewall is largely determined by the radial extent of the vertical absolute vorticity, which is shown to be higher in a large size vortex.

The relative importance of the initial vortex size and the environmental relative humidity (RH) to the TC inner-core size is also evaluated. It is found that the inner-core size of the simulated storm at the mature stage depends more heavily on the initial vortex size than on the initial RH of the environment.

Corresponding author address: Dr. Yuqing Wang, IPRC/SOEST, University of Hawaii at Manoa, 1680 East–West Road, Honolulu, HI 96822. Email: yuqing@hawaii.edu

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