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Assessing the Influence of Upper-Tropospheric Troughs on Tropical Cyclone Intensification Rates after Genesis

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  • 1 Department of Atmospheric and Environmental Sciences, University at Albany, State University of New York, Albany, New York
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Abstract

The role of upper-tropospheric troughs on the intensification rate of newly formed tropical cyclones (TCs) is analyzed. This study focuses on TCs forming in the presence of upper-tropospheric troughs in the North Atlantic basin between 1980 and 2014. TCs were binned into three groups based upon the 24-h intensification rate starting at the time of genesis: rapid TC genesis (RTCG), slow TC genesis (STCG), and neutral TC genesis (NTCG). Composite analysis shows RTCG events are characterized by amplified upper-tropospheric flow with the largest upshear displacement between the TC and trough of the three groups. RTCG events are associated with greater quasigeostrophic (QG) ascent in upshear quadrants of the TC, forced by differential vorticity advection by the thermal wind, especially around the time of genesis. This pattern of QG ascent closely matches the RTCG composite of infrared brightness temperatures.

Conversely, NTCG events are associated with an upper-tropospheric trough that is closest to the TC center. The distribution of QG ascent in NTCG events becomes increasingly asymmetric around the time of genesis, with a maximum that shifts downshear of the TC center, consistent with infrared brightness temperatures. It is hypothesized that the TC intensification rate after tropical cyclogenesis, in environments of upper-tropospheric troughs, is closely linked to the structure and temporal evolution of the upper-level trough. The TC–trough configurations that provide greater QG ascent to the left of, and upshear of, the TC center feature more symmetric convection and faster TC intensification rates.

© 2017 American Meteorological Society. For information regarding reuse of this content and general copyright information, consult the AMS Copyright Policy (www.ametsoc.org/PUBSReuseLicenses).

Corresponding author e-mail: Michael S. Fischer, msfischer@albany.edu

Abstract

The role of upper-tropospheric troughs on the intensification rate of newly formed tropical cyclones (TCs) is analyzed. This study focuses on TCs forming in the presence of upper-tropospheric troughs in the North Atlantic basin between 1980 and 2014. TCs were binned into three groups based upon the 24-h intensification rate starting at the time of genesis: rapid TC genesis (RTCG), slow TC genesis (STCG), and neutral TC genesis (NTCG). Composite analysis shows RTCG events are characterized by amplified upper-tropospheric flow with the largest upshear displacement between the TC and trough of the three groups. RTCG events are associated with greater quasigeostrophic (QG) ascent in upshear quadrants of the TC, forced by differential vorticity advection by the thermal wind, especially around the time of genesis. This pattern of QG ascent closely matches the RTCG composite of infrared brightness temperatures.

Conversely, NTCG events are associated with an upper-tropospheric trough that is closest to the TC center. The distribution of QG ascent in NTCG events becomes increasingly asymmetric around the time of genesis, with a maximum that shifts downshear of the TC center, consistent with infrared brightness temperatures. It is hypothesized that the TC intensification rate after tropical cyclogenesis, in environments of upper-tropospheric troughs, is closely linked to the structure and temporal evolution of the upper-level trough. The TC–trough configurations that provide greater QG ascent to the left of, and upshear of, the TC center feature more symmetric convection and faster TC intensification rates.

© 2017 American Meteorological Society. For information regarding reuse of this content and general copyright information, consult the AMS Copyright Policy (www.ametsoc.org/PUBSReuseLicenses).

Corresponding author e-mail: Michael S. Fischer, msfischer@albany.edu
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