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The Unexpected Rapid Intensification of Tropical Cyclones in Moderate Vertical Wind Shear. Part III: Outflow–Environment Interaction

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  • 1 Naval Research Laboratory, Monterey, California
  • | 2 Naval Research Laboratory, Washington, D.C.
  • | 3 Naval Research Laboratory, Monterey, California
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Abstract

Interactions between the upper-level outflow of a sheared, rapidly intensifying tropical cyclone (TC) and the background environmental flow in an idealized model are presented. The most important finding is that the divergent outflow from convection localized by the tilt of the vortex serves to divert the background environmental flow around the TC, thus reducing the local vertical wind shear. We show that this effect can be understood from basic theoretical arguments related to Bernoulli flow around an obstacle. In the simulation discussed, the environmental flow diversion by the outflow is limited to 2 km below the tropopause in the 12–14-km (250–150 hPa) layer. Synthetic water vapor satellite imagery confirms the presence of upshear arcs in the cloud field, matching satellite observations. These arcs, which exist in the same layer as the outflow, are caused by slow-moving wave features and serve as visual markers of the outflow–environment interface. The blocking effect where the outflow and the environmental winds meet creates a dynamic high pressure whose pressure gradient extends nearly 1000 km upwind, thus causing the environmental winds to slow down, to converge, and to sink. We discuss these results with respect to the first part of this three-part study, and apply them to another atypical rapid intensification hurricane: Matthew (2016).

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

Corresponding author: David R. Ryglicki, david.ryglicki@nrlmry.navy.mil

This article is included in the Tropical Cyclone Intensity Experiment (TCI) Special Collection.

This article has companion articles which can be found at http://journals.ametsoc.org/doi/abs/10.1175/MWR-D-18-0020.1 and http://journals.ametsoc.org/doi/abs/10.1175/MWR-D-18-0021.1

Abstract

Interactions between the upper-level outflow of a sheared, rapidly intensifying tropical cyclone (TC) and the background environmental flow in an idealized model are presented. The most important finding is that the divergent outflow from convection localized by the tilt of the vortex serves to divert the background environmental flow around the TC, thus reducing the local vertical wind shear. We show that this effect can be understood from basic theoretical arguments related to Bernoulli flow around an obstacle. In the simulation discussed, the environmental flow diversion by the outflow is limited to 2 km below the tropopause in the 12–14-km (250–150 hPa) layer. Synthetic water vapor satellite imagery confirms the presence of upshear arcs in the cloud field, matching satellite observations. These arcs, which exist in the same layer as the outflow, are caused by slow-moving wave features and serve as visual markers of the outflow–environment interface. The blocking effect where the outflow and the environmental winds meet creates a dynamic high pressure whose pressure gradient extends nearly 1000 km upwind, thus causing the environmental winds to slow down, to converge, and to sink. We discuss these results with respect to the first part of this three-part study, and apply them to another atypical rapid intensification hurricane: Matthew (2016).

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

Corresponding author: David R. Ryglicki, david.ryglicki@nrlmry.navy.mil

This article is included in the Tropical Cyclone Intensity Experiment (TCI) Special Collection.

This article has companion articles which can be found at http://journals.ametsoc.org/doi/abs/10.1175/MWR-D-18-0020.1 and http://journals.ametsoc.org/doi/abs/10.1175/MWR-D-18-0021.1

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