Observations of the Structure and Evolution of Hurricane Edouard (2014) during Intensity Change. Part I: Relationship between the Thermodynamic Structure and Precipitation

Jonathan Zawislak Florida International University, Miami, Florida

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Haiyan Jiang Florida International University, Miami, Florida

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George R. Alvey III University of Utah, Salt Lake City, Utah

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Edward J. Zipser University of Utah, Salt Lake City, Utah

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Robert F. Rogers NOAA/Atlantic Oceanographic and Meteorological Laboratory/Hurricane Research Division, Miami, Florida

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Jun A. Zhang NOAA/Atlantic Oceanographic and Meteorological Laboratory/Hurricane Research Division, and Cooperative Institute for Marine and Atmospheric Studies, Rosenstiel School for Marine and Atmospheric Sciences, University of Miami, Miami, Florida

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Stephanie N. Stevenson University at Albany, State University of New York, Albany, New York

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Abstract

The structural evolution of the inner core and near environment throughout the life cycle of Hurricane Edouard (2014) is examined using a synthesis of airborne and satellite measurements. This study specifically focuses on the precipitation evolution and thermodynamic changes that occur on the vortex scale during four periods: when Edouard was a slowly intensifying tropical storm, another while a rapidly intensifying hurricane, during the initial stages of weakening after reaching peak intensity, and later while experiencing moderate weakening in the midlatitudes. Results suggest that, in a shear-relative framework, a wavenumber-1 asymmetry exists whereby the downshear quadrants consistently exhibit the greatest precipitation coverage and highest relative humidity, while the upshear quadrants (especially upshear right) exhibit relatively less precipitation coverage and lower humidity, particularly in the midtroposphere. Whether dynamically or precipitation driven, the relatively dry layers upshear appear to be ubiquitously caused by subsidence. The precipitation and thermodynamic asymmetry is observed throughout the intensification and later weakening stages, while a consistently more symmetric distribution is only observed when Edouard reaches peak intensity. The precipitation distribution, which is also discussed in the context of the boundary layer thermodynamic properties, is intimately linked to the thermodynamic symmetry, which becomes greater as the frequency, areal coverage, and, in particular, rainfall rate increases upshear. Although shear is generally believed to be detrimental to intensification, observations in Edouard also indicate that subsidence warming from mesoscale downdrafts in the low- to midtroposphere very near the center may have contributed favorably to organization early in the intensification stage.

Corresponding author address: Jonathan Zawislak, Dept. of Earth and Environment, Florida International University, 11200 SW 8th St., AHC-5, Rm. 360, Miami, FL 33199. E-mail: jzawisla@fiu.edu

This article is included in the NASA Hurricane Severe Storm Sentinel (HS3) special collection.

Abstract

The structural evolution of the inner core and near environment throughout the life cycle of Hurricane Edouard (2014) is examined using a synthesis of airborne and satellite measurements. This study specifically focuses on the precipitation evolution and thermodynamic changes that occur on the vortex scale during four periods: when Edouard was a slowly intensifying tropical storm, another while a rapidly intensifying hurricane, during the initial stages of weakening after reaching peak intensity, and later while experiencing moderate weakening in the midlatitudes. Results suggest that, in a shear-relative framework, a wavenumber-1 asymmetry exists whereby the downshear quadrants consistently exhibit the greatest precipitation coverage and highest relative humidity, while the upshear quadrants (especially upshear right) exhibit relatively less precipitation coverage and lower humidity, particularly in the midtroposphere. Whether dynamically or precipitation driven, the relatively dry layers upshear appear to be ubiquitously caused by subsidence. The precipitation and thermodynamic asymmetry is observed throughout the intensification and later weakening stages, while a consistently more symmetric distribution is only observed when Edouard reaches peak intensity. The precipitation distribution, which is also discussed in the context of the boundary layer thermodynamic properties, is intimately linked to the thermodynamic symmetry, which becomes greater as the frequency, areal coverage, and, in particular, rainfall rate increases upshear. Although shear is generally believed to be detrimental to intensification, observations in Edouard also indicate that subsidence warming from mesoscale downdrafts in the low- to midtroposphere very near the center may have contributed favorably to organization early in the intensification stage.

Corresponding author address: Jonathan Zawislak, Dept. of Earth and Environment, Florida International University, 11200 SW 8th St., AHC-5, Rm. 360, Miami, FL 33199. E-mail: jzawisla@fiu.edu

This article is included in the NASA Hurricane Severe Storm Sentinel (HS3) special collection.

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