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Yu-An Chen
and
Chun-Chieh Wu

Abstract

The interaction between Typhoon Nepartak (2016) and the upper-tropospheric cold low (UTCL) is simulated to better understand the impact of UTCL on the structural and intensity change of tropical cyclones (TCs). An experiment without UTCL is also performed to highlight the quantitative impacts of UTCL. Furthermore, idealized sensitivity experiments are carried out to further investigate the specific TC-UTCL configurations leading to different interactions. It is shown that a TC interacting with the UTCL is associated with a more axisymmetric inner-core structure and an earlier rapid intensification. Three plausible mechanisms related to the causality between a UTCL and the intensity change of TC are addressed. First, the lower energy expenditure on outflow expansion leads to higher net heat energy and intensification rate. Second, the external eddy forcing reinforces the secondary circulation and promotes further TC development. Ultimately, the shear-induced downward and radial ventilation of the low-entropy air is unexpectedly reduced despite the presence of UTCL, leading to stronger inner-core convections in the upshear quadrants. In general, the TC-UTCL interaction process of Nepartak is favorable for TC intensification owing to the additional positive effect and the reduced negative effect. In addition, results from sensitivity experiments indicate that the most favorable interaction would occur when the UTCL is located to the north or northwest of the TC at a stable and proper distance of about one Rossby radius of deformation of the UTCL.

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Johannes M. L. Dahl
and
Jannick Fischer

Abstract

The authors explore the dynamical origins of rotation of a mature tornado-like vortex using an idealized numerical simulation of a supercell thunderstorm. Using 30 minute forward parcel trajectories that terminate at the base of the tornado-like vortex (TLV), the vorticity dynamics are analyzed for n = 7 parcels. Aside from the integration of the individual terms of the traditional vorticity equation, an alternative formulation of the vorticity equation and its integral, here referred to as vorticity source decomposition, is employed. This formulation is derived on the basis of Truesdell’s “basic vorticity formula,” which is obtained by first formulating the vorticity in material (Lagrangian) coordinates, and then obtaining the components relative to the fixed spatial (Eulerian) basis via a coordinate transformation. The analysis highlights surface drag as the most reliable vorticity source for the rotation at the base of the vortex for the analyzed parcels. Moreover, the vorticity source decomposition exposes the importance of small amounts of vorticity produced baroclinically, which may become significant after sufficient stretching occurs. Further, it is shown that ambient vorticity, upon being rearranged as the trajectories pass through the storm, may for some parcels directly contribute to the rotation of the tornado-like vortex. Finally, the role of diffusion is addressed using analytical solutions of the steady Burgers-Rott vortex, highlighting that diffusion cannot aid in maintaining the vortex core.

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Yuan Lian
,
Mark I. Richardson
,
Claire E. Newman
,
Chris Lee
,
Anthony Toigo
,
Scott Guzewich
, and
Roger V. Yelle

Abstract

Atmospheric oscillations with daily periodicity are observed in in situ near-surface pressure, temperature, and winds observations and also in remotely sensed temperature and pressure observations of the Martian atmosphere. Such oscillations are interpreted as thermal tides driven by the diurnal cycle of solar radiation and occur at various frequencies, with the most prominent being the diurnal, semidiurnal, terdiurnal, and quadiurnal tides. Mars global circulation models reproduce these tides with varying levels of success. Until recently, both the MarsWRF and newly developed MarsMPAS models were able to produce realistic diurnal and semidiurnal tide amplitudes but predicted higher-order mode amplitudes that were significantly weaker than observed. We use linear wave analysis to show that the divergence damping applied within both MarsWRF and MarsMPAS is responsible for suppressing the amplitude of thermal tides with frequency greater than 2 per sol, despite being designed to suppress only acoustic wave modes. Decreasing the strength of the divergence damping in MarsWRF and MarsMPAS allows for excellent prediction of the higher-order tidal modes. This finding demonstrates that care must be taken when applying numerical dampers and filters that may eliminate some desired dynamical features in planetary atmospheres.

Open access
Firat Y. Testik
and
Abdullah Bolek

Abstract

Wind and turbulence effects on raindrop fall speeds were elucidated using field observations over a two-year time-period. Motivations for this study include the recent observations of raindrop fall speed deviations from the terminal fall speed predictions (Vt ) based upon laboratory studies and the utilizations of these predictions in various important meteorological and hydrological applications. Fall speed (Vf ) and other characteristics of raindrops were observed using a High-speed Optical Disdrometer (HOD), and various rainfall and wind characteristics were observed using a 3D ultrasonic anemometer, a laser-type disdrometer, and raingauges. A total of 26951 raindrops were observed during 17 different rainfall events; and of these observed raindrops, 18.5% had a sub-terminal fall speed (i.e. 0.85Vt Vf ) and 9.5% had a super-terminal fall speed (i.e. 1.15Vt Vf ). Our observations showed that distributions of sub- and super-terminal raindrops in the raindrop size spectrum are distinct, and different physical processes are responsible for the occurrence of each. Vertical wind speed, wind shear, and turbulence were identified as the important factors, the latter two being the dominant ones, for the observed fall speed deviations. Turbulence and wind shear had competing effects on raindrop fall. Raindrops of different sizes showed different responses to turbulence, indicating multi-scale interactions between raindrop fall and turbulence. With increasing turbulence levels, while the raindrops in the smaller end of the size spectrum showed fall speed enhancements, those in the larger end of the size spectrum showed fall speed reductions. The effect of wind shear was to enhance the raindrop fall speed towards a super-terminal fall.

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Justin Finkel
,
Robert J. Webber
,
Edwin P. Gerber
,
Dorian S. Abbot
, and
Jonathan Weare

Abstract

Atmospheric regime transitions are highly impactful as drivers of extreme weather events, but pose two formidable modeling challenges: predicting the next event (weather forecasting) and characterizing the statistics of events of a given severity (the risk climatology). Each event has a different duration and spatial structure, making it hard to define an objective “average event.” We argue here that transition path theory (TPT), a stochastic process framework, is an appropriate tool for the task. We demonstrate TPT’s capacities on a wave–mean flow model of sudden stratospheric warmings (SSWs) developed by Holton and Mass, which is idealized enough for transparent TPT analysis but complex enough to demonstrate computational scalability. Whereas a recent article () studied near-term SSW predictability, the present article uses TPT to link predictability to long-term SSW frequency. This requires not only forecasting forward in time from an initial condition, but also backward in time to assess the probability of the initial conditions themselves. TPT enables one to condition the dynamics on the regime transition occurring, and thus visualize its physical drivers with a vector field called the reactive current. The reactive current shows that before an SSW, dissipation and stochastic forcing drive a slow decay of vortex strength at lower altitudes. The response of upper-level winds is late and sudden, occurring only after the transition is almost complete from a probabilistic point of view. This case study demonstrates that TPT quantities, visualized in a space of physically meaningful variables, can help one understand the dynamics of regime transitions.

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Gwenore F. Pokrifka
,
Alfred M. Moyle
, and
Jerry Y. Harrington

Abstract

An electrodynamic levitation thermal-gradient diffusion chamber was used to grow 268 individual, small ice particles (initial radii of 8–26 μm) from the vapor, at temperatures ranging from −65° to −40°C, and supersaturations up to liquid saturation. Growth limited by attachment kinetics was frequently measured at low supersaturation, as shown in prior work. At high supersaturation, enhanced growth was measured, likely due to the development of branches and hollowed facets. The effects of branching and hollowing on particle growth are often treated with an effective density ρ eff. We fit the measured time series with two different models to estimate size-dependent ρ eff values: the first model decreases ρ eff to an asymptotic deposition density ρ dep, and the second models ρ eff by a power law with exponent P. Both methods produce similar results, though the fits with ρ dep typically have lower relative errors. The fit results do not correspond well with models of isometric or planar single-crystalline growth. While single-crystalline columnar crystals correspond to some of the highest growth rates, a newly constructed geometric model of budding rosette crystals produces the best match with the growth data. The relative frequency of occurrence of ρ dep and P values show a clear dependence on ice supersaturation normalized to liquid saturation. We use these relative frequencies of ρ dep and P to derive two supersaturation-dependent mass–size relationships suitable for cloud modeling applications.

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Enoch Jo
and
Sonia Lasher-Trapp

Abstract

Entrainment is a key process that can modulate the intensity of supercells, and a better understanding of its impact could help improve forecasts of thunderstorms and the precipitation they produce. In Part III of this series, the three distinct mechanisms of entrainment identified during the mature stage of idealized supercell thunderstorms in Part I (overturning “ribbons” of horizontal vorticity, “disorganized turbulent eddies”, and the “storm-relative airstream”) are examined as the absolute humidity of the environment is decreased. The existence of these mechanisms in a more realistic simulated storm environment is also established. Entrainment is calculated as fluxes of air across the storm core surface; passive fluid tracers help determine the resulting dilution of the storm updraft. Model microphysical rates are used to examine the direct impacts of entrainment on hydrometeors within the storm updraft as well as precipitation that falls to the ground. Results show that as mixed-layer humidity decreases, the “ribbons” and turbulent eddy mechanisms decrease in intensity, but their effects on precipitation production change little. With decreasing humidity in the 3 to 4 km AGL layer, the storm-relative airstream entrains less humid low-level air into the storm core, decreasing the vertical mass flux, and therefore the precipitation produced by the storm. When the humidity in the mid-to-upper troposphere (4 to 20 km AGL) is decreased, precipitation is significantly reduced, but not due to the effects of the entrained air. Rather, enhanced evaporation and sublimation of falling precipitation decreases the overall precipitation efficiency of the storm.

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Pin-Ying Wu
and
Tetsuya Takemi

Abstract

Thermally induced thunderstorm simulations were conducted with the Weather Research and Forecasting (WRF) model in an idealized configuration to investigate the associated error growth and predictability. We conducted identical twin experiments with different topography and background winds to assess the impacts of these factors. The results showed that mountain topography restrains error growth at the early stage of convection development. This topographic effect is sensitive to mountain geometry and background winds: it was more noticeable in cases with higher and narrower mountains and difficult to see without background wind. The topographic effect and its sensitivity resulted from the different natures of convection initiation. However, the topographic effect became less apparent when moist convection continued growing and triggered rapid error growth. The predictability of thunderstorms is then limited at the timing after the convective activity reached its maximum. A smaller initial error or starting a simulation at a later time did not break this timing of predictability limit. Mountain topography also limitedly affected the timing of the maximum convective activity and the predictability limit. In contrast, background flows changed the convection evolution and the following predictability. The predictability limit assessed by rainfall suggested other aspects of the topographic effect. The domain-scale rainfall distribution and the intense accumulated rainfall can be adequately captured in the presence of mountains.

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Ji-Hee Yoo
and
Hye-Yeong Chun

Abstract

Compensation between the resolved wave (RW) forcing and the parameterized orographic gravity wave drag (OGWD) accompanying barotropic/baroclinic (BT/BC) instability in the realistic atmosphere is investigated using Climate Forecast System Reanalysis data in the Northern Hemisphere winter stratosphere. When sufficiently narrow and/or strong negative OGWD drives instability, RWs are generated in situ, providing positive Eliassen–Palm flux divergence that compensates for the parameterized OGWD enhancement; this is consistent with the findings of previous studies based on the idealized general circulation models. However, dependence of the compensation rate on RW forcing differs from the nearly complete compensation in the previous studies, implying that an additional mechanism operates for the compensation: the refractive-index modification by BT/BC instability. The negative meridional gradient of the quasigeostrophic potential vorticity leads to the negative refractive index squared for RWs with phase speeds less than the zonal-mean zonal wind. This prevents RWs from entering the destabilized areas, resulting in the divergence of Eliassen–Palm fluxes that cancels out the parameterized OGWD perturbation. Although both mechanisms act simultaneously, the refractive-index modification plays an important role in the compensation processes in the stratosphere where RWs are dominated by the planetary-scale waves.

Open access
Mark Pinsky
and
Alexander Khain

Abstract

Velocity field in a nonprecipitating Cu under BOMEX conditions, simulated by SAM with 10-m resolution and spectral bin microphysics is separated into the convective part and the turbulent part, using a wavelet filtering. In Part II of the study properties of convective motions of this Cu were investigated. Here in Part III of the study, the parameters of cloud turbulence are calculated in the cloud updraft zone at different stages of cloud development. The main points of this study are (i) application of a fine-scale LES model of a single convective cloud allowed a direct estimation of turbulence parameters using the resolved flow in the cloud and (ii) the separation of the resolved flow into the turbulence flow and the nonturbulence flow allowed us to estimate different turbulent parameters with sufficient statistical accuracy. We calculated height and time dependences of the main turbulent parameters such as turbulence kinetic energy (TKE), spectra of TKE, dissipation rate, and the turbulent coefficient. It was found that the main source of turbulence in the cloud is buoyancy whose contribution is described by the buoyancy production term (BPT). The shear production term (SPT) increases with height and reaches its maximum near cloud top, and so does BPT. In agreement with the behavior of BPT and SPT, turbulence in the lower cloud part (below the inversion level) is weak and hardly affects the processes of mixing and entrainment. The fact that BPT is larger than SPT determines many properties of cloud turbulence. For instance, the turbulence is nonisotropic, so the vertical component of TKE is substantially larger than the horizontal components. Another consequence of the fact that BPT is larger than STP manifests itself in the finding that the turbulence spectrum largely obeys the −11/5 Bolgiano–Obukhov scaling. The classical Kolmogorov −5/3 scaling dominates for the low part of a cloud largely at the dissolving stage of cloud evolution. Using the spectra obtained we evaluated an “effective” dissipation rate which increases with height from nearly zero at cloud base up to 20 cm2 s−3 near cloud top. The coefficient of turbulent diffusion was found to increase with height and ranged from 5 m2 s−1 near cloud base to 25 m2 s−1 near cloud top. The possible role of turbulence in the process of lateral entrainment and mixing is discussed.

Significance Statement

1) This study investigates the turbulent structure of Cu using a 10-m-resolution LES model with spectral bin microphysics, 2) the main source of turbulence is buoyancy, 3) turbulence in cumulus clouds (Cu) is nonisotropic, 4) turbulence reaches maximum intensity near cloud top, 5) turbulence spectrum obeys largely the −11/5 Bolgiano–Obukhov scaling, and 6) the main turbulent parameters are evaluated.

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