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GPS Dropwindsonde and WSR-88D Observations of Tropical Cyclone Vertical Wind Profiles and Their Characteristics

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  • 1 Wind Science and Engineering Research Center, Texas Tech University, Lubbock, Texas
  • | 2 National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration/Atlantic Oceanographic and Meteorological Laboratory/Hurricane Research Division, Miami, Florida
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Abstract

The characteristics of tropical cyclone vertical wind profiles and their associated wind speed peaks below 1.5 km were examined through the use of a large number of GPS dropwindsondes (GPS sondes) and radar-derived velocity–azimuth display (VAD) profiles. Composite wind profiles were generated to document the mean structure of tropical cyclone vertical wind profiles and their changes with storm-relative position. Composite profiles were observed to change as the radius decreased inward toward the radius of maximum winds. Profiles also varied between three azimuthal sectors. At landfall, wind profiles exhibited changes with radial distance and differences were observed between those within offshore and onshore flow regimes. The observations support a general reduction in boundary layer depth with decreasing radial distance. Wind profiles with peaks at low altitudes were typically confined to radii less than 60 km, near and radially inward from the radius of maximum winds. Wind speed maxima, when scaled by a layer mean wind, decreased in magnitude as the radius decreased. At landfall, composite profiles showed a distinct low-level wind speed maximum in the eyewall region with significant differences between the onshore and offshore flow regimes.

Corresponding author address: Ian M. Giammanco, Wind Science and Engineering Research Center, Texas Tech University, 10th and Akron, Lubbock, TX 79409. E-mail: ian.giammanco@ttu.edu

Abstract

The characteristics of tropical cyclone vertical wind profiles and their associated wind speed peaks below 1.5 km were examined through the use of a large number of GPS dropwindsondes (GPS sondes) and radar-derived velocity–azimuth display (VAD) profiles. Composite wind profiles were generated to document the mean structure of tropical cyclone vertical wind profiles and their changes with storm-relative position. Composite profiles were observed to change as the radius decreased inward toward the radius of maximum winds. Profiles also varied between three azimuthal sectors. At landfall, wind profiles exhibited changes with radial distance and differences were observed between those within offshore and onshore flow regimes. The observations support a general reduction in boundary layer depth with decreasing radial distance. Wind profiles with peaks at low altitudes were typically confined to radii less than 60 km, near and radially inward from the radius of maximum winds. Wind speed maxima, when scaled by a layer mean wind, decreased in magnitude as the radius decreased. At landfall, composite profiles showed a distinct low-level wind speed maximum in the eyewall region with significant differences between the onshore and offshore flow regimes.

Corresponding author address: Ian M. Giammanco, Wind Science and Engineering Research Center, Texas Tech University, 10th and Akron, Lubbock, TX 79409. E-mail: ian.giammanco@ttu.edu
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