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Using Satellite Observations to Evaluate the Relationships between Ice Condensate, Latent Heat Release, and Tropical Cyclone Intensification in a Mesoscale Model

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  • 1 Rosenstiel School of Marine and Atmospheric Science, University of Miami, Miami, Florida
  • 2 Meteorologisches Institut, Universität Hamburg, Hamburg, Germany
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Abstract

This study examines the relationship between frozen hydrometeors and latent heating in model simulations and evaluates the capability of the Weather Research and Forecasting (WRF) Model to reproduce the observed frozen hydrometeors and their relationship to tropical cyclone (TC) intensification. Previous modeling studies have emphasized the importance of both the amount and location of latent heating in modulating the evolution of TC intensity. However, the lack of observations limits a full understanding of its importance in the real atmosphere. Idealized simulations using WRF indicate that latent heating is strongly correlated to the amount of ice water content, suggesting that ice water content can serve as an observable proxy for latent heat release in the mid- to upper troposphere. Based on this result, satellite observations are used to create storm-centered composites of ice water path as a function of TC intensity. The model reasonably captures the vertical and horizontal distribution of ice water content and its dependence upon TC intensity, with differences typically less than 20%. The model also captures the signature of increased ice water content for intensifying TCs, suggesting that observations of ice water content provide a useful diagnostic for understanding and evaluating model simulations of TC intensification.

Supplemental information related to this paper is available at the Journals Online website: https://doi.org/10.1175/MWR-D-19-0348.s1.

Current affiliation: Faculty of Environment and Information Studies, Keio University, Kanagawa, Japan.

© 2020 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: Shun-Nan Wu, sxw594@rsmas.miami.edu

Abstract

This study examines the relationship between frozen hydrometeors and latent heating in model simulations and evaluates the capability of the Weather Research and Forecasting (WRF) Model to reproduce the observed frozen hydrometeors and their relationship to tropical cyclone (TC) intensification. Previous modeling studies have emphasized the importance of both the amount and location of latent heating in modulating the evolution of TC intensity. However, the lack of observations limits a full understanding of its importance in the real atmosphere. Idealized simulations using WRF indicate that latent heating is strongly correlated to the amount of ice water content, suggesting that ice water content can serve as an observable proxy for latent heat release in the mid- to upper troposphere. Based on this result, satellite observations are used to create storm-centered composites of ice water path as a function of TC intensity. The model reasonably captures the vertical and horizontal distribution of ice water content and its dependence upon TC intensity, with differences typically less than 20%. The model also captures the signature of increased ice water content for intensifying TCs, suggesting that observations of ice water content provide a useful diagnostic for understanding and evaluating model simulations of TC intensification.

Supplemental information related to this paper is available at the Journals Online website: https://doi.org/10.1175/MWR-D-19-0348.s1.

Current affiliation: Faculty of Environment and Information Studies, Keio University, Kanagawa, Japan.

© 2020 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: Shun-Nan Wu, sxw594@rsmas.miami.edu

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