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Eric A. Hendricks
,
Wayne H. Schubert
,
Yu-Han Chen
,
Hung-Chi Kuo
, and
Melinda S. Peng

Abstract

A forced shallow-water model is used to understand the role of diabatic and frictional effects in the generation, maintenance, and breakdown of the hurricane eyewall potential vorticity (PV) ring. Diabatic heating is parameterized as an annular mass sink of variable width and magnitude, and the nonlinear evolution of tropical storm–like vortices is examined under this forcing. Diabatic heating produces a strengthening and thinning PV ring in time due to the combined effects of the mass sink and radial PV advection by the induced divergent circulation. If the forcing makes the ring thin enough, then it can become dynamically unstable and break down into polygonal asymmetries or mesovortices. The onset of barotropic instability is marked by simultaneous drops in both the maximum instantaneous velocity and minimum pressure, consistent with unforced studies. However, in a sensitivity test where the heating is proportional to the relative vorticity, universal intensification occurs during barotropic instability, consistent with a recent observational study. Friction is shown to help stabilize the PV ring by reducing the eyewall PV and the unstable-mode barotropic growth rate. The radial location and structure of the heating is shown to be of critical importance for intensity variability. While it is well known that it is critical to heat in the inertially stable region inside the radius of maximum winds to spin up the hurricane vortex, these results demonstrate the additional importance of having the net heating as close as possible to the center of the storm, partially explaining why tropical cyclones with very small eyes can rapidly intensify to high peak intensities.

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Jan-Huey Chen
,
Melinda S. Peng
,
Carolyn A. Reynolds
, and
Chun-Chieh Wu

Abstract

In this study, the leading singular vectors (SVs), which are the fastest-growing perturbations (in a linear sense) to a given forecast, are used to examine and classify the dynamic relationship between tropical cyclones (TCs) and synoptic-scale environmental features that influence their evolution. Based on the 72 two-day forecasts of the 18 western North Pacific TCs in 2006, the SVs are constructed to optimize perturbation energy within a 20° × 20° latitude–longitude box centered on the 48-h forecast position of the TCs using the Navy Operational Global Atmospheric Prediction System (NOGAPS) forecast and adjoint systems. Composite techniques are employed to explore these relationships and highlight how the dominant synoptic-scale features that impact TC forecasts evolve on seasonal time scales.

The NOGAPS initial SVs show several different patterns that highlight the relationship between the TC forecast sensitivity and the environment during the western North Pacific typhoon season in 2006. In addition to the relation of the SV maximum to the inward flow region of the TC, there are three patterns identified where the local SV maxima collocate with low-radial-wind-speed regions. These regions are likely caused by the confluence of the flow associated with the TC itself and the flow from other synoptic systems, such as the subtropical high and the midlatitude jet. This is the new finding beyond the previous NOGAPS SV results on TCs. The subseasonal variations of these patterns corresponding to the dynamic characteristics are discussed. The SV total energy vertical structures for the different composites are used to demonstrate the contributions from kinetic and potential energy components of different vertical levels at initial and final times.

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Gan Zhang
,
Zhuo Wang
,
Timothy J. Dunkerton
,
Melinda S. Peng
, and
Gudrun Magnusdottir

Abstract

With warm sea surface temperature (SST) anomalies in the tropical Atlantic and cold SST anomalies in the east Pacific, the unusually quiet hurricane season in 2013 was a surprise to the hurricane community. The authors’ analyses suggest that the substantially suppressed Atlantic tropical cyclone (TC) activity in August 2013 can be attributed to frequent breaking of midlatitude Rossby waves, which led to the equatorward intrusion of cold and dry extratropical air. The resultant mid- to upper-tropospheric dryness and strong vertical wind shear hindered TC development. Using the empirical orthogonal function analysis, the active Rossby wave breaking in August 2013 was found to be associated with a recurrent mode of the midlatitude jet stream over the North Atlantic, which represents the variability of the intensity and zonal extent of the jet. This mode is significantly correlated with Atlantic hurricane frequency. The correlation coefficient is comparable to the correlation of Atlantic hurricane frequency with the main development region (MDR) relative SST and higher than that with the Niño-3.4 index. This study highlights the extratropical impacts on Atlantic TC activity, which may have important implications for the seasonal predictability of Atlantic TCs.

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Melinda S. Peng
,
John H. Powell
,
R. T. Williams
, and
Bao-Fong Jeng

Abstract

A hydrostatic, primitive equation model with frontogenetical deformation forcing is used to study the effects of surface friction on fronts passing over a two-dimensional ridge. Surface friction is parameterized using a K-theory planetary boundary layer (BL) parameterization with implicitly defined diffusion coefficients, following Keyser and Anthes. Previous studies without surface friction, such as Williams et al., show that a cold front weakens on the upwind slope and intensifies on the lee slope. This is in part due to a superposition effect of mountain flow where colder temperatures exist over the crest and in part due to the divergence pattern caused by the basic flow over the mountain (divergence on the upwind slope and convergence on the lee slope). In Williams et al., the final intensity of a front after passing a symmetric mountain is the same as a front moving over flat land. For no-mountain simulations, the inclusion of the BL results in a more realistic frontal structure and the frontal intensity is weaker than for the frictionless front because weaker temperature gradients are created through vertical mixing. The same type of mixing acts to strengthen a cold front on the upwind slope and weaken it on the downwind slope. The divergence forcing is also frontogenetic on the upwind slope and frontolyic on the lee slope within the BL. The vertical mixing forcing is strongest near the top of BL and weaker within the BL due to weak temperature gradient within the BL. The divergent forcing is strongest within the BL and weak at the top. When BL effects are included, the final intensity of a front passing over a mountain is weaker than the front over flat topography.

The translation of the front is slightly slower with the BL because of the overall reduced cross-frontal speed by surface friction. When moving over a mountain, a front with the BL has a more uniform speed than the frictionless front due to a more uniform flow within the BL.

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Zhuo Wang
,
Weiwei Li
,
Melinda S. Peng
,
Xianan Jiang
,
Ron McTaggart-Cowan
, and
Christopher A. Davis

Abstract

Practical predictability of tropical cyclogenesis over the North Atlantic is evaluated in different synoptic flow regimes using the NCEP Global Ensemble Forecast System (GEFS) reforecasts with forecast lead time up to two weeks. Synoptic flow regimes are represented by tropical cyclogenesis pathways defined in a previous study based on the low-level baroclinicity and upper-level forcing of the genesis environmental state, including nonbaroclinic, low-level baroclinic, trough-induced, weak tropical transition (TT), and strong TT pathways. It is found that the strong TT and weak TT pathways have lower predictability than the other pathways, linked to the lower predictability of vertical wind shear and midlevel humidity in the genesis vicinity of a developing TT storm. Further analysis suggests that stronger extratropical influences contribute to lower genesis predictability. It is also shown that the regional and seasonal variations of the genesis predictive skill in the GEFS can be largely explained by the relative frequency of occurrence of each pathway and the predictability differences among pathways. Predictability of tropical cyclogenesis is further discussed using the concept of the genesis potential index.

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Weiwei Li
,
Zhuo Wang
,
Gan Zhang
,
Melinda S. Peng
,
Stanley G. Benjamin
, and
Ming Zhao

Abstract

This study investigates the subseasonal variability of anticyclonic Rossby wave breaking (AWB) and its impacts on atmospheric circulations and tropical cyclones (TCs) over the North Atlantic in the warm season from 1985 to 2013. Significant anomalies in sea level pressure, tropospheric wind, and humidity fields are found over the tropical–subtropical Atlantic within 8 days of an AWB activity peak. Such anomalies may lead to suppressed TC activity on the subseasonal time scale, but a significant negative correlation between the subseasonal variability of AWB and Atlantic basinwide TC activity does not exist every year, likely due to the modulation of TCs by other factors. It is also found that AWB occurrence may be modulated by the Madden–Julian oscillation (MJO). In particular, AWB occurrence over the tropical–subtropical west Atlantic is reduced in phases 2 and 3 and enhanced in phases 6 and 7 based on the Real-Time Multivariate MJO (RMM) index. The impacts of AWB on the predictive skill of Atlantic TCs are examined using the Global Ensemble Forecasting System (GEFS) reforecasts with a forecast lead time up to 2 weeks. The hit rate of tropical cyclogenesis during active AWB episodes is lower than the long-term-mean hit rate, and the GEFS is less skillful in capturing the variations of weekly TC activity during the years of enhanced AWB activity. The lower predictability of TCs is consistent with the lower predictability of environmental variables (such as vertical wind shear, moisture, and low-level vorticity) under the extratropical influence.

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Yi-Ting Yang
,
Hung-Chi Kuo
,
Eric A. Hendricks
,
Yi-Chin Liu
, and
Melinda S. Peng

Abstract

The typhoons with concentric eyewalls (CE) over the western North Pacific in different phases of the El Niño–Southern Oscillation (ENSO) between 1997 and 2012 are studied. They find a good correlation (0.72) between the annual CE typhoon number and the oceanic Niño index (ONI), with most of the CE typhoons occurring in the warm and neutral episodes. In the warm (neutral) episode, 55% (50%) of the typhoons possessed a CE structure. In contrast, only 25% of the typhoons possessed a CE structure in the cold episode. The CE formation frequency is also significantly different with 0.9 (0.2) CEs per month in the warm (cold) episode. There are more long-lived CE cases (CE structure maintained more than 20 h) and typhoons with multiple CE formations in the warm episodes. There are no typhoons with multiple CE formations in the cold episode. The warm episode CE typhoons generally have a larger size, stronger intensity, and smaller variation in convective activity and intensity. This may be due to the fact that the CE formation location is farther east in the warm episodes. Shifts in CE typhoon location with favorable conditions thus produce long-lived CE typhoons and multiple CE formations. The multiple CE formations may lead to expansion of the typhoon size.

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Melinda S. Peng
,
Der-Song Chen
,
Simon W. Chang
,
C-P. Chang
, and
B-F. Jeng

Abstract

In an effort to improve the tropical cyclone track forecast, two preprocessing procedures are applied to an operational baroclinic forecast system at the Central Weather Bureau (CWB) in Taipei. The first replaces the environmental wind field near the storm by the previous 6-h.movement vector of the storm. The second incorporates a wavenumber-1 asymmetry constructed by matching the flow at the center of the asymmetry with the previous 6-h storm movement. Applying both processes to the 32 typhoon casts archived at the CWB in 1990 reduces the averaged 48-h forecast distance error from 474 to 351 km.

Multiexisting typhoons may have interactions among themselves that depend on relative intensity. Proper representation of the intensities in the initial bogus is important for the track forecast. Experiments with different initial bogus intensities are conducted on a case of dual typhoons-Nat and Mireille in 1991. The forecast using different bogus vortices according to the estimated intensities of each typhoon gives substantially smaller errors than that using identical bogus vortices. The impact of initial bogus vortex intensity on the track forecast for single typhoon cases is also illustrated.

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Munehiko Yamaguchi
,
David S. Nolan
,
Mohamed Iskandarani
,
Sharanya J. Majumdar
,
Melinda S. Peng
, and
Carolyn A. Reynolds

Abstract

In this study, singular vectors (SVs) are calculated for tropical cyclone (TC)–like vortices on an f plane and β plane using a barotropic model, and the structure and time evolution of the SVs are investigated. In the f-plane study, SVs are calculated for TC-like vortices that do and do not satisfy a necessary condition of barotropic instability of normal modes, in which the vorticity gradient changes sign. It is found that, in the case where the initial vortices do not meet the condition, 1) the SVs are tilted against the shear of the background angular velocity as found earlier by Nolan and Farrell, indicating the growth of SVs through the Orr mechanism; 2) the leading singular value increases with the maximum tangential wind speed V max and decreases with the radius of the maximum wind (RMW); and 3) the locations of SVs move outward with increasing RMW, V max, and the optimization time. In the case where the initial vortex allows for barotropic instability, the SV is initially tilted against the background shear and exhibits transient growth for a limited period. At a certain time during the initial growth, the SV “locks in” to a normal mode structure and remains in that structure so that it may grow exponentially with time.

In contrast to the SVs on an f plane, the azimuthal distribution of the SVs on a β plane becomes more asymmetric, and the extent of the asymmetry increases as the strength of the beta gyres increases. On the β plane, all first and second SVs calculated in this study have an azimuthal wavenumber-1 structure at the optimization time, regardless of whether the vorticity gradient of initial TC-like vortices changes sign and the TC-like vortices include the beta gyres at initial time. It is found that when the first and second SVs are used as ensemble initial perturbations, the linear combination of the initial first and second SVs can shift the vortex toward any direction at the optimization time. This is true even when SVs with a low horizontal resolution are used as initial perturbations, as in the European Centre for Medium-Range Weather Forecasts (ECMWF) and Japan Meteorological Agency (JMA) ensemble prediction system. Such wavenumber-1 perturbations could be useful for generating sufficient spread among the tropical cyclone tracks in ensemble forecasts.

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Eric A. Hendricks
,
Michal A. Kopera
,
Francis X. Giraldo
,
Melinda S. Peng
,
James D. Doyle
, and
Qingfang Jiang

Abstract

The utility of static and adaptive mesh refinement (SMR and AMR, respectively) are examined for idealized tropical cyclone (TC) simulations in a two-dimensional spectral element f-plane shallow-water model. The SMR simulations have varying sizes of the statically refined meshes (geometry based) while the AMR simulations use a potential vorticity (PV) threshold to adaptively refine the mesh to the evolving TC. Numerical simulations are conducted for four cases: (i) TC-like vortex advecting in a uniform flow, (ii) binary vortex interaction, (iii) barotropic instability of a PV ring, and (iv) barotropic instability of a thin strip of PV. For each case, a uniform grid high-resolution “truth” simulation is compared to two different SMR simulations and three different AMR simulations for accuracy and efficiency. The multiple SMR and AMR simulations have variations in the number of fully refined elements in the vicinity of the TC. For these idealized cases, it is found that the SMR and AMR simulations are able to resolve the vortex dynamical processes (e.g., barotropic instability, Rossby wave breaking, and filamentation) as well as the truth simulations, with no significant loss in accuracy in the refined region in the vortex vicinity and with significant speedups (factors of 4–15, depending on the total number of refined elements). The overall accuracy is enhanced by a greater area of fully refined mesh in both the SMR and AMR simulations.

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