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  • Author or Editor: Elizabeth A. Ritchie x
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Difei Deng
and
Elizabeth A. Ritchie

Abstract

Tropical Cyclone Debbie (2017) made landfall near Airlie Beach on 28 March 2017 causing 14 fatalities and an estimated $2.67 billion (U.S. dollars) economic loss and was ranked as the most dangerous cyclone to hit Australia since TC Tracy in 1974. In addition to the extreme flooding as TC Debbie moved onshore and down the east coast of Australia, it intensified rapidly just offshore from category 2 to category 4 on the Australian TC intensity scale in under 18 h prior to making landfall. A high-resolution WRF simulation is used to analyze the inner-core structure and evolution during the offshore intensification period. Two stages are identified: a slow intensification (SI) stage characterized by an asymmetric eyewall contraction and a rapid intensification (RI) stage characterized by three eyewall breakdown and redevelopment events. Each round of breakdown and reestablishment brings high potential vorticity and equivalent potential temperature air back into the eyewall, reinvigorating eyewall convection activity and driving intensification.

Open access
Diana R. Stovern
and
Elizabeth A. Ritchie

Abstract

This study uses the WRF ARW to investigate how different atmospheric temperature environments impact the size and structure development of a simulated tropical cyclone (TC). In each simulation, the entire vertical virtual temperature profile is either warmed or cooled in 1°C increments from an initial specified state while the initial relative humidity profile and sea surface temperature are held constant. This alters the initial amount of convective available potential energy (CAPE), specific humidity, and air–sea temperature difference such that, when the simulated atmosphere is cooled (warmed), the initial specific humidity and CAPE decrease (increase), but the surface energy fluxes from the ocean increase (decrease).

It is found that the TCs that form in an initially cooler environment develop larger wind and precipitation fields with more active outer-core rainband formation. Consistent with previous studies, outer-core rainband formation is associated with high surface energy fluxes, which leads to increases in the outer-core wind field. A larger convective field develops despite initializing in a low CAPE environment, and the dynamics are linked to a wider field of surface radial inflow. As the TC matures and radial inflow expands, large imports of relative angular momentum in the boundary layer continue to drive expansion of the TC’s overall size.

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