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Kekuan Chu and Zhe-Min Tan

Abstract

Annular hurricanes, characterized by annular structure, are a subset of mature-stage intense tropical cyclones, and they tend to be stronger and persist longer than average tropical cyclones. The characteristics of annular hurricanes in the North Atlantic and eastern-central North Pacific Oceans are well documented by Knaff et al. However, little is known about the annular typhoons in the western North Pacific (WNP). This study investigates the general features of annular typhoons in the WNP based on a 20-yr analysis (1990–2009) of global storm-centered infrared brightness temperature and passive microwave satellite datasets. Similar to annular hurricanes, annular typhoons also only form under a specific combination of environmental conditions, resulting in a quite low occurrence rate (~4%), and only 12 annular typhoons occur during this period. The concentric eyewall replacement is one effective pathway to annular typhoon formation. Three annular typhoons experienced the concentric eyewall replacement within 24 h prior to their annular phases during this period. There are two seedbeds, located east of Taiwan and in the central WNP, for annular typhoon formation within a narrow zonal belt (20°–30°N). The former is conducive to the landfall of annular typhoons, in particular six of the nine annular typhoons that formed in this region eventually made landfall. Because the average time interval between landfall of the annular typhoons and the end of their annular phase is relatively short, about 30 h, they can maintain near-peak intensities and hit the landfalling areas with record intensities. They present a unique threat to eastern Asia but have received little attention from the scientific community so far.

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