Diagnosing Radial Ventilation in Dropsonde Observations of Hurricane Sam (2021)

Brian H. Tang aDepartment of Atmospheric and Environmental Sciences, University at Albany, State University of New York, Albany, New York

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Rosimar Rios-Berrios bNational Center for Atmospheric Research, Boulder, Colorado

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Jun A. Zhang cNOAA/AOML/Hurricane Research Division, University of Miami/CIMAS, Miami, Florida

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Abstract

This study presents a method to diagnose radial ventilation, the horizontal flux of relatively low-θe air into tropical cyclones, from dropsonde observations. We used this method to investigate ventilation changes over three consecutive sampling periods in Hurricane Sam (2021), which underwent substantial intensity changes over three days. During the first and last periods, coinciding with intensification, the ventilation was relatively small due to a lack of spatial correlation between radial flow and θe azimuthal asymmetries. During the second period, coinciding with weakening, the ventilation was relatively large. The increased ventilation was caused by greater shear associated with an upper-level trough, tilting the vortex, along with dry, low-θe air wrapping in upshear. The spatial correlation of the radial inflow and anomalously low-θe air resulted in large ventilation at mid-to-upper levels. Additionally, at low-to-mid levels, there was evidence of mesoscale inflow of low-θe air in the stationary band complex. The location of these radial ventilation pathways and their effects on Sam’s intensity are consistent with previous idealized and real-case modeling studies. More generally, this method offers a way to monitor ventilation changes in tropical cyclones, particularly when there is full-troposphere sampling around and within a tropical cyclone’s core.

© 2024 American Meteorological Society. This is an Author Accepted Manuscript distributed under the terms of the default AMS reuse license. For information regarding reuse and general copyright information, consult the AMS Copyright Policy (www.ametsoc.org/PUBSReuseLicenses).

Corresponding author: Brian H. Tang, btang@albany.edu

Abstract

This study presents a method to diagnose radial ventilation, the horizontal flux of relatively low-θe air into tropical cyclones, from dropsonde observations. We used this method to investigate ventilation changes over three consecutive sampling periods in Hurricane Sam (2021), which underwent substantial intensity changes over three days. During the first and last periods, coinciding with intensification, the ventilation was relatively small due to a lack of spatial correlation between radial flow and θe azimuthal asymmetries. During the second period, coinciding with weakening, the ventilation was relatively large. The increased ventilation was caused by greater shear associated with an upper-level trough, tilting the vortex, along with dry, low-θe air wrapping in upshear. The spatial correlation of the radial inflow and anomalously low-θe air resulted in large ventilation at mid-to-upper levels. Additionally, at low-to-mid levels, there was evidence of mesoscale inflow of low-θe air in the stationary band complex. The location of these radial ventilation pathways and their effects on Sam’s intensity are consistent with previous idealized and real-case modeling studies. More generally, this method offers a way to monitor ventilation changes in tropical cyclones, particularly when there is full-troposphere sampling around and within a tropical cyclone’s core.

© 2024 American Meteorological Society. This is an Author Accepted Manuscript distributed under the terms of the default AMS reuse license. For information regarding reuse and general copyright information, consult the AMS Copyright Policy (www.ametsoc.org/PUBSReuseLicenses).

Corresponding author: Brian H. Tang, btang@albany.edu
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