Observed Hurricane Wind Speed Asymmetries and Relationships to Motion and Environmental Shear

Eric W. Uhlhorn NOAA/AOML/Hurricane Research Division, Miami, Florida

Search for other papers by Eric W. Uhlhorn in
Current site
Google Scholar
PubMed
Close
,
Bradley W. Klotz Cooperative Institute for Marine and Atmospheric Studies, Rosenstiel School of Marine and Atmospheric Science, University of Miami, Miami, Florida

Search for other papers by Bradley W. Klotz in
Current site
Google Scholar
PubMed
Close
,
Tomislava Vukicevic NOAA/AOML/Hurricane Research Division, Miami, Florida

Search for other papers by Tomislava Vukicevic in
Current site
Google Scholar
PubMed
Close
,
Paul D. Reasor NOAA/AOML/Hurricane Research Division, Miami, Florida

Search for other papers by Paul D. Reasor in
Current site
Google Scholar
PubMed
Close
, and
Robert F. Rogers NOAA/AOML/Hurricane Research Division, Miami, Florida

Search for other papers by Robert F. Rogers in
Current site
Google Scholar
PubMed
Close
Restricted access

Abstract

Wavenumber-1 wind speed asymmetries in 35 hurricanes are quantified in terms of their amplitude and phase, based on aircraft observations from 128 individual flights between 1998 and 2011. The impacts of motion and 850–200-mb environmental vertical shear are examined separately to estimate the resulting asymmetric structures at the sea surface and standard 700-mb reconnaissance flight level. The surface asymmetry amplitude is on average around 50% smaller than found at flight level, and while the asymmetry amplitude grows in proportion to storm translation speed at the flight level, no significant growth at the surface is observed, contrary to conventional assumption. However, a significant upwind storm-motion-relative phase rotation is found at the surface as translation speed increases, while the flight-level phase remains fairly constant. After removing the estimated impact of storm motion on the asymmetry, a significant residual shear direction-relative asymmetry is found, particularly at the surface, and, on average, is located downshear to the left of shear. Furthermore, the shear-relative phase has a significant downwind rotation as shear magnitude increases, such that the maximum rotates from the downshear to left-of-shear azimuthal location. By stratifying observations according to shear-relative motion, this general pattern of a left-of-shear residual wind speed maximum is found regardless of the orientation between the storm’s heading and shear direction. These results are quite consistent with recent observational studies relating western Pacific typhoon wind asymmetries to environmental shear. Finally, changes in wind asymmetry over a 5-day period during Hurricane Earl (2010) are analyzed to understand the combined impacts of motion and the evolving shear.

Corresponding author address: Dr. Eric W. Uhlhorn, NOAA/AOML/Hurricane Research Division, 4301 Rickenbacker Cswy., Miami, FL 33149. E-mail: eric.uhlhorn@noaa.gov

Abstract

Wavenumber-1 wind speed asymmetries in 35 hurricanes are quantified in terms of their amplitude and phase, based on aircraft observations from 128 individual flights between 1998 and 2011. The impacts of motion and 850–200-mb environmental vertical shear are examined separately to estimate the resulting asymmetric structures at the sea surface and standard 700-mb reconnaissance flight level. The surface asymmetry amplitude is on average around 50% smaller than found at flight level, and while the asymmetry amplitude grows in proportion to storm translation speed at the flight level, no significant growth at the surface is observed, contrary to conventional assumption. However, a significant upwind storm-motion-relative phase rotation is found at the surface as translation speed increases, while the flight-level phase remains fairly constant. After removing the estimated impact of storm motion on the asymmetry, a significant residual shear direction-relative asymmetry is found, particularly at the surface, and, on average, is located downshear to the left of shear. Furthermore, the shear-relative phase has a significant downwind rotation as shear magnitude increases, such that the maximum rotates from the downshear to left-of-shear azimuthal location. By stratifying observations according to shear-relative motion, this general pattern of a left-of-shear residual wind speed maximum is found regardless of the orientation between the storm’s heading and shear direction. These results are quite consistent with recent observational studies relating western Pacific typhoon wind asymmetries to environmental shear. Finally, changes in wind asymmetry over a 5-day period during Hurricane Earl (2010) are analyzed to understand the combined impacts of motion and the evolving shear.

Corresponding author address: Dr. Eric W. Uhlhorn, NOAA/AOML/Hurricane Research Division, 4301 Rickenbacker Cswy., Miami, FL 33149. E-mail: eric.uhlhorn@noaa.gov
Save
  • Aksoy, A., S. D. Aberson, T. Vukicevic, K. J. Sellwood, S. Lorsolo, and X. Zhang, 2013: Assimilation of high-resolution tropical cyclone observations with an ensemble Kalman filter using NOAA/AOML/HRD’s HEDAS: Evaluation of the 2008-11 vortex-scale analyses. Mon. Wea. Rev., 141, 18421865.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Barnes, S., 1964: A technique for maximizing details in numerical weather map analysis. J. Appl. Meteor., 3, 396409.

  • Bell, M. M., M. T. Montgomery, and K. A. Emanuel, 2012: Air–sea enthalpy and momentum exchange at major hurricane wind speeds observed during CBLAST. J. Atmos. Sci., 69, 31973222.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Bender, M. A., 1997: The effect of relative flow on the asymmetric structure in the interior of hurricanes. J. Atmos. Sci., 54, 703724.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Bergman, K. H., 1979: Multivariate analyses of temperatures and winds using optimum interpolation. Mon. Wea. Rev., 107, 14231444.

  • Black, M. L., J. F. Gamache, F. D. Marks Jr., C. E. Samsury, and H. E. Willoughby, 2002: Eastern Pacific Hurricanes Jimena of 1991 and Olivia of 1994: The effect of vertical shear on structure and intensity. Mon. Wea. Rev., 130, 22912312.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Braun, S. A., and L. Wu, 2007: A numerical study of Hurricane Erin (2001). Part II: Shear and the organization of eyewall vertical motion. Mon. Wea. Rev., 135, 11791194.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Braun, S. A., and Coauthors, 2013: NASA’s Genesis and Rapid Intensification Processes (GRIP) field experiment. Bull. Amer. Meteor. Soc., 94, 345363.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Cecil, D. J., 2007: Satellite-derived rain rates in vertically sheared tropical cyclones. Geophys. Res. Lett.,34, L02811, doi:10.1029/2006GL027942.

  • Chen, S., J. A. Knaff, and F. D. Marks, 2006: Effects of vertical wind shear and storm motion on tropical cyclone rainfall asymmetries deduced from TRMM. Mon. Wea. Rev., 134, 31903208.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Corbosiero, K. L., and J. Molinari, 2002: The effects of vertical wind shear on the distribution of convection in tropical cyclones. Mon. Wea. Rev., 130, 21102123.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Corbosiero, K. L., and J. Molinari, 2003: The relationship between storm motion, vertical wind shear, and convective asymmetries in tropical cyclones. J. Atmos. Sci., 60, 366376.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Davis, C., and Coauthors, 2008: Prediction of landfalling hurricanes with the Advanced Hurricane WRF model. Mon. Wea. Rev., 136, 19902005.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • DeMaria, M., M. Mainelli, L. K. Shay, J. A. Knaff, and J. Kaplan, 2005: Further improvements to the Statistical Hurricane Intensity Prediction Scheme (SHIPS). Wea. Forecasting, 20, 531543.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Didlake, A. C., Jr., and R. A. Houze Jr., 2009: Convective-scale downdrafts in the principal rainband of Hurricane Katrina (2005). Mon. Wea. Rev., 137, 32693293.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Frank, W. M., and E. A. Ritchie, 2001: Effects of vertical wind shear on the intensity and structure of numerically simulated hurricanes. Mon. Wea. Rev., 129, 22492269.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Franklin, J. L., M. L. Black, and K. Valde, 2003: GPS dropwindsonde wind profiles in hurricanes and their operational implications. Wea. Forecasting, 18, 3244.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Georgiou, P., 1985: Design wind speeds in tropical cyclone prone regions. Ph.D. thesis, University of Western Ontario, 295 pp.

  • Hence, D. A., and R. A. Houze Jr., 2008: Kinematic structure of convective-scale elements in the rainbands of Hurricanes Katrina and Rita (2005). J. Geophys. Res.,113, D15108, doi:10.1029/2007JD009429.

  • Holland, G. J., 1980: An analytic model of the wind and pressure profiles in hurricanes. Mon. Wea. Rev., 108, 12121218.

  • Holland, G. J., J. I. Belanger, and A. Fritz, 2010: A revised model for radial profiles of hurricane winds. Mon. Wea. Rev., 138, 43934401.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Houston, S. H., W. A. Shaffer, M. D. Powell, and J. Chen, 1999: Comparisons of HRD and SLOSH surface wind fields in hurricanes: Implications for storm surge modeling. Wea. Forecasting, 14, 671686.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Hu, K., Q. Chen, and S. K. Kimball, 2012: Consistency in hurricane surface wind forecasting: An improved parametric model. Nat. Hazards, 61, 10291050.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Irish, J. L., D. T. Resio, and J. J. Ratcliff, 2008: The influence of storm size on hurricane surge. J. Phys. Oceanogr., 38, 20032013.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Jarvinen, B. R., C. J. Neumann, and M. A. S. Davis, 1984: A tropical cyclone data tape for the North Atlantic Basin, 1886–1983: Contents, limitations, and uses. NOAA Tech. Memo. 22, NWS/NHC, Miami, FL, 21 pp.

  • Kepert, J., 2001: The dynamics of boundary layer jets within the tropical cyclone core. Part I: Linear theory. J. Atmos. Sci., 58, 24692484.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Kepert, J., 2006a: Observed boundary layer wind structure and balance in the hurricane core. Part I: Hurricane Georges. J. Atmos. Sci., 63, 21692193.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Kepert, J., 2006b: Observed boundary layer wind structure and balance in the hurricane core. Part II: Hurricane Mitch. J. Atmos. Sci., 63, 21942211.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Kepert, J., and Y. Wang, 2001: The dynamics of boundary layer jets within the tropical cyclone core. Part II: Nonlinear enhancement. J. Atmos. Sci., 58, 24852501.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Knaff, J. A., and R. M. Zehr, 2007: Reexamination of tropical cyclone wind–pressure relationships. Wea. Forecasting, 22, 7188.

  • Knaff, J. A., J. P. Kossin, and M. DeMaria, 2003: Annular hurricanes. Wea. Forecasting, 18, 204223.

  • Knaff, J. A., S. Seseske, M. DeMaria, and J. Demuth, 2004: On the influences of vertical wind shear on symmetric tropical cyclone structure derived from AMSU. Mon. Wea. Rev., 132, 25032510.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Knaff, J. A., M. DeMaria, D. A. Molenar, C. R. Sampson, and M. G. Seybold, 2011: An automated, objective, multiple-satellite platform tropical cyclone surface wind analysis. J. Appl. Meteor. Climatol., 50, 21492166.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Kossin, J. P., and W. H. Schubert, 2001: Mesovortices, polygonal flow patterns, and rapid pressure falls in hurricane-like vortices. J. Atmos. Sci., 58, 21962209.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Landsea, C. W., and Coauthors, 2004: A reanalysis of Hurricane Andrew’s intensity. Bull. Amer. Meteor. Soc., 85, 16991712.

  • Mallen, K. J., M. T. Montgomery, and B. Wang, 2005: Reexamining the near-core radial structure of the tropical cyclone primary circulation: Implications for vortex resiliency. J. Atmos. Sci., 62, 408425.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Marks, F. D., P. G. Black, M. T. Montgomery, and R. W. Burpee, 2008: Structure of the eye and eyewall of Hurricane Hugo (1989). Mon. Wea. Rev., 136, 12371259.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Nolan, D. S., J. A. Zhang, and D. P. Stern, 2009: Evaluation of planetary boundary layer parameterizations in tropical cyclones by comparison of in situ observations and high-resolution simulations of Hurricane Isabel (2003). Part I: Initialization, maximum winds, and the outer-core boundary layer. Mon. Wea. Rev., 137, 36513674.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Powell, M. D., and S. H. Houston, 1996: Hurricane Andrew’s landfall in south Florida. Part I: Surface wind fields and potential real-time applications. Wea. Forecasting, 11, 329349.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Powell, M. D., and T. A. Reinhold, 2007: Tropical cyclone destructive potential by integrated kinetic energy. Bull. Amer. Meteor. Soc., 88, 513526.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Powell, M. D., P. P. Dodge, and M. L. Black, 1991: The landfall of Hurricane Hugo in the Carolinas: Surface wind distribution. Wea. Forecasting, 6, 379399.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Powell, M. D., P. J. Vickery, and T. A. Reinhold, 2003: Reduced drag coefficient for high wind speeds in tropical cyclones. Nature, 422, 279283.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Powell, M. D., E. W. Uhlhorn, and J. D. Kepert, 2009: Estimating maximum surface winds from hurricane reconnaissance measurements. Wea. Forecasting, 24, 868883.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Powell, M. D., and Coauthors, 2010: Reconstruction of Hurricane Katrina’s wind fields for storm surge and wave hindcasting. Ocean Eng., 37, 2636.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Reasor, P. D., and M. Eastin, 2012: Rapidly intensifying Hurricane Guillermo (1997). Part II: Resilience in shear. Mon. Wea. Rev., 140, 425444.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Reasor, P. D., M. T. Montgomery, F. D. Marks Jr., and J. F. Gamache, 2000: Low-wavenumber structure and evolution of the hurricane inner core observed by airborne dual-Doppler radar. Mon. Wea. Rev., 128, 16531680.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Reasor, P. D., M. T. Montgomery, and L. D. Grasso, 2004: A new look at the problem of tropical cyclones in vertical shear flow: Vortex resiliency. J. Atmos. Sci., 61, 322.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Reasor, P. D., M. Eastin, and J. F. Gamache, 2009: Rapidly intensifying Hurricane Guillermo (1997). Part I: Low-wavenumber structure and evolution. Mon. Wea. Rev., 137, 603631.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Reasor, P. D., R. F. Rogers, and S. Lorsolo, 2013: Environmental flow impacts on tropical cyclone structure diagnosed from airborne Doppler radar composites. Mon. Wea. Rev., 141, 29492969.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Riemer, M., M. T. Montgomery, and M. E. Nicholls, 2010: A new paradigm for intensity modification of tropical cyclones: Thermodynamic impact of vertical wind shear on the inflow layer. Atmos. Chem. Phys., 10, 31633188.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Rogers, R., and E. Uhlhorn, 2008: Observations of the structure and evolution of surface and flight-level wind asymmetries in Hurricane Rita (2005). Geophys. Res. Lett.,35, L22811, doi:10.1029/2008GL034774.

  • Rogers, R., S. Chen, J. Tenerelli, and H. Willoughby, 2003: A numerical study of the impact of vertical shear on the distribution of rainfall in Hurricane Bonnie (1998). Mon. Wea. Rev., 131, 15771599.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Ross, R. J., and Y. Kurihara, 1992: A simplified scheme to simulate asymmetries due to the beta effect in barotropic vortices. J. Atmos. Sci., 49, 16201628.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Schwendike, J., and J. D. Kepert, 2008: The boundary layer winds in Hurricanes Danielle (1998) and Isabel (2003). Mon. Wea. Rev., 136, 31683192.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Shapiro, L. J., 1983: The asymmetric boundary layer flow under a translating hurricane. J. Atmos. Sci., 40, 19841998.

  • Sheets, R. C., 2003: Hurricane surveillance by specially instrumented aircraft. Hurricane! Coping with Disaster, R. Simpson, Ed., Amer. Geophys. Union, 63–101.

  • Stern, D. P., and D. S. Nolan, 2009: Reexamining the vertical structure of tangential winds in tropical cyclones: Observations and theory. J. Atmos. Sci., 66, 35793600.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Ueno, M., and M. Kunii, 2009: Some aspects of azimuthal wavenumber-one structure of typhoons represented in the JMA operational mesoscale analyses. J. Meteor. Soc. Japan, 87, 615633.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Ueno, M., and K. Bessho, 2011: A statistical analysis of near-core surface wind asymmetries in typhoons obtained from QuikSCAT data. J. Meteor. Soc. Japan, 89, 225241.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Uhlhorn, E. W., and P. G. Black, 2003: Verification of remotely sensed sea surface winds in hurricanes. J. Atmos. Oceanic Technol., 20, 99116.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Uhlhorn, E. W., and D. S. Nolan, 2012: Observational undersampling in tropical cyclones and implications for estimated intensity. Mon. Wea. Rev., 140, 825840.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Uhlhorn, E. W., P. G. Black, J. L. Franklin, M. Goodberlet, J. Carswell, and A. S. Goldstein, 2007: Hurricane surface wind measurements from an operational Stepped Frequency Microwave Radiometer. Mon. Wea. Rev., 135, 30703085.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Velden, C., and Coauthors, 2006: The Dvorak tropical cyclone intensity estimation technique: A satellite-based method that has endured for over 30 years. Bull. Amer. Meteor. Soc., 87, S6S9.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Vukicevic, T., E. W. Uhlhorn, P. Reasor, and B. Klotz, 2014: A novel multiscale intensity metric for evaluation of tropical cyclone intensity forecasts. J. Atmos. Sci., in press.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Wang, Y., and G. J. Holland, 1996: Tropical cyclone motion and evolution in vertical shear. J. Atmos. Sci., 53, 33133332.

  • Wingo, M. T., and D. J. Cecil, 2010: Effects of vertical wind shear on tropical cyclone precipitation. Mon. Wea. Rev., 138, 645662.

  • Wu, L., S. A. Braun, J. Halverson, and G. Heymsfield, 2006: A numerical study of Hurricane Erin (2001). Part I: Model verification and storm evolution. J. Atmos. Sci., 63, 6586.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Xie, L., S. Bao, L. J. Pietrafesa, K. Foley, and M. Fuentes, 2006: A real-time hurricane surface wind forecasting model: Formulation and verification. Mon. Wea. Rev., 134, 13551370.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Zhang, J., and E. W. Uhlhorn, 2012: Hurricane sea surface inflow angle and an observation-based parametric model. Mon. Wea. Rev., 140, 35873605.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
All Time Past Year Past 30 Days
Abstract Views 0 0 0
Full Text Views 1099 288 25
PDF Downloads 973 244 10