Abstract

Convection-allowing simulations of two warm seclusion cyclones are used to elucidate the vorticity dynamics that contribute to intensification of these systems. The rapidly intensifying oceanic “bomb” cyclone on 4–5 January 1989 and the super derecho on 8 May 2009 are the subject of this study. While these systems occupy different spatial scales, they both acquire characteristics of a warm seclusion cyclone. The aim of this study is to compare the basic structure and determine the dynamics driving increases in system-scale vertical vorticity during the intensification of these systems. Results from a vorticity budget show that system-scale stretching and the lateral transport of vertical vorticity to the cyclone center contribute to increases of system-scale low-level vertical vorticity during the intensification of the oceanic cyclone. The intercomparison of the oceanic cyclone and the super derecho shows that the relative contributions to increases in system-scale vertical vorticity by stretching and tilting as a function of height differ among the two cases. However, the lateral transport of vertical vorticity to the cyclone center is a key contributor to increases in low-level system-scale vertical vorticity for both cases. We hypothesize that this process may be common among a wide array of intense cyclonic systems across scales ranging from warm seclusion extratropical cyclones to some mesoscale convective systems.

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