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Casey R. Densmore, Elizabeth R. Sanabia, and Bradford S. Barrett

Abstract

The quasi-biennial oscillation (QBO) is stratified by stratospheric zonal wind direction and height into four phase pairs [easterly midstratospheric winds (QBOEM), easterly lower-stratospheric winds, westerly midstratospheric winds (QBOWM), and westerly lower-stratospheric winds] using an empirical orthogonal function analysis of daily stratospheric (100–10 hPa) zonal wind data during 1980–2017. Madden–Julian oscillation (MJO) events in which the MJO convective envelope moved eastward across the Maritime Continent (MC) during 1980–2017 are identified using the Real-time Multivariate MJO (RMM) index and the outgoing longwave radiation (OLR) MJO index (OMI). Comparison of RMM amplitudes by the QBO phase pair over the MC (RMM phases 4 and 5) reveals that boreal winter MJO events have the strongest amplitudes during QBOEM and the weakest amplitudes during QBOWM, which is consistent with QBO-driven differences in upper-tropospheric lower-stratospheric (UTLS) static stability. Additionally, boreal winter RMM events over the MC strengthen during QBOEM and weaken during QBOWM. In the OMI, those amplitude changes generally shift eastward to the eastern MC and western Pacific Ocean, which may result from differences in RMM and OMI index methodologies. During boreal summer, as the northeastward-propagating boreal summer intraseasonal oscillation (BSISO) becomes the dominant mode of intraseasonal variability, these relationships are reversed. Zonal differences in UTLS stability anomalies are consistent with amplitude changes of eastward-propagating MJO events across the MC during boreal winter, and meridional stability differences are consistent with amplitude changes of northeastward-propagating BSISO events during boreal summer. Results remain consistent when stratifying by neutral ENSO phase.

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Elizabeth R. Sanabia, Bradford S. Barrett, and Caitlin M. Fine

Abstract

Radial profiles of infrared brightness temperature for 2405 different satellite observations from 14 western North Pacific tropical cyclones (TCs) from the 2012 season were analyzed and compared to intensity and changes in intensity. Four critical points along the inner core of each infrared (IR) brightness temperature (BT) profile were identified: coldest cloud top (CCT), first overshooting top (FOT), and lower (L45) and upper (U45) extent of the inner eyewall. Radial movement of the mean CCT point outward with increasing TC intensity, combined with subsequent warming of the mean L45 point with intensity, highlighted structure changes that are consistent with eye and eyewall development. When stratified by latitude and vertical wind shear, the CCT point moved radially outward for all cases, notably at higher intensities for lower-latitude TCs and at lower intensities for higher-latitude TCs. The majority of the warming of the L45 point with increasing intensity occurred for low-latitude and low-shear cases. Slopes of IR BT between the four critical points were statistically significantly negatively correlated with intensity, indicating that stronger (weaker) TCs had more (less) negative slopes of IR BT and more (less) vertical eyewall profiles. Furthermore, except in high-shear cases, the most negative correlations were found in the inner eyewall, consistent with results from recent studies based on radar reconnaissance data. Finally, 12-h changes in slope were found to lead 12-h changes in intensity most often at higher latitudes, providing evidence that changes in the secondary TC circulation may lead changes in the primary TC circulation for both strengthening and weakening TCs.

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Elizabeth R. Sanabia, Bradford S. Barrett, Peter G. Black, Sue Chen, and James A. Cummings

Abstract

Thousands of aircraft observations of upper-ocean thermal structures have been obtained during hurricane and typhoon research field experiments in recent decades. The results from these experiments suggest a strong correlation between upper-ocean thermal variability and tropical cyclone (TC) intensity change. In response to these results, during the Office of the Federal Coordinator of Meteorology (OFCM) 2011 Interdepartmental Hurricane Conference (IHC), the Working Group for Hurricane and Winter Storms Operations and Research (WG/HWSOR) approved a 3-yr project to demonstrate the usefulness of airborne expendable bathythermographs (AXBTs) in an operational setting. The goal of this project was to initialize and validate coupled TC forecast models and was extended to improve input to statistical intensity forecast models. During the first season of the demonstration project, 109 AXBTs were deployed between 28 July and 28 August 2011. Successes included AXBT deployment from WC-130J aircraft during operational reconnaissance missions tasked by the National Hurricane Center (NHC), real-time onboard and postflight data processing, real-time data transmission to U.S. Navy and NOAA hurricane numerical prediction centers, and near-real-time assimilation of upper-ocean temperature observations into the Naval Research Laboratory Coupled Ocean–Atmosphere Mesoscale Prediction System-Tropical Cyclones (COAMPS-TC) forecast model. Initial results showed 1) increased model accuracy in upper-ocean temperatures, 2) minor improvements in TC track forecasts, and 3) minor improvements in TC intensity forecasts in both coupled dynamical and statistical models [COAMPS-TC and the Statistical Hurricane Intensity Prediction Scheme (SHIPS), respectively].

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Elizabeth R. Sanabia, Bradford S. Barrett, Nicholas P. Celone, and Zachary D. Cornelius

Abstract

Satellite and aircraft observations of the concurrent evolution of cloud-top brightness temperatures (BTs) and the surface and flight-level wind fields were examined before and during an eyewall replacement cycle (ERC) in Typhoon Sinlaku (2008) as part of The Observing System Research and Predictability Experiment (THORPEX) Pacific Asian Regional Campaign (T-PARC) and the Tropical Cyclone Structure 2008 (TCS08) field campaign. The structural evolution of deep convection through the life cycle of the ERC was clearly evident in the radial variation of positive water vapor (WV) minus infrared (IR) brightness temperature differences over the 96-h period. Within this framework, the ERC was divided into six broadly defined stages, wherein convective processes (including eyewall development and decay) were analyzed and then validated using microwave data. Dual maxima in aircraft wind speeds and geostationary satellite BTs along flight transects through Sinlaku were used to document the temporal evolution of the ERC within the TC inner core. Negative correlations were found between IR BTs and surface wind speeds, indicating that colder cloud tops were associated with stronger surface winds. Spatial lags indicated that the strongest surface winds were located radially inward of both the flight-level winds and coldest cloud tops. Finally, timing of the ERC was observed equally in IR and WV minus IR (WVIR) BTs with one exception. Decay of the inner eyewall was detected earlier in the WVIR data. These findings highlight the potential utility of WVIR and IR BT radial profiles, particularly so for basins without active aircraft weather reconnaissance programs such as the western North Pacific.

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James D. Doyle, Jonathan R. Moskaitis, Joel W. Feldmeier, Ronald J. Ferek, Mark Beaubien, Michael M. Bell, Daniel L. Cecil, Robert L. Creasey, Patrick Duran, Russell L. Elsberry, William A. Komaromi, John Molinari, David R. Ryglicki, Daniel P. Stern, Christopher S. Velden, Xuguang Wang, Todd Allen, Bradford S. Barrett, Peter G. Black, Jason P. Dunion, Kerry A. Emanuel, Patrick A. Harr, Lee Harrison, Eric A. Hendricks, Derrick Herndon, William Q. Jeffries, Sharanya J. Majumdar, James A. Moore, Zhaoxia Pu, Robert F. Rogers, Elizabeth R. Sanabia, Gregory J. Tripoli, and Da-Lin Zhang

Abstract

Tropical cyclone (TC) outflow and its relationship to TC intensity change and structure were investigated in the Office of Naval Research Tropical Cyclone Intensity (TCI) field program during 2015 using dropsondes deployed from the innovative new High-Definition Sounding System (HDSS) and remotely sensed observations from the Hurricane Imaging Radiometer (HIRAD), both on board the NASA WB-57 that flew in the lower stratosphere. Three noteworthy hurricanes were intensively observed with unprecedented horizontal resolution: Joaquin in the Atlantic and Marty and Patricia in the eastern North Pacific. Nearly 800 dropsondes were deployed from the WB-57 flight level of ∼60,000 ft (∼18 km), recording atmospheric conditions from the lower stratosphere to the surface, while HIRAD measured the surface winds in a 50-km-wide swath with a horizontal resolution of 2 km. Dropsonde transects with 4–10-km spacing through the inner cores of Hurricanes Patricia, Joaquin, and Marty depict the large horizontal and vertical gradients in winds and thermodynamic properties. An innovative technique utilizing GPS positions of the HDSS reveals the vortex tilt in detail not possible before. In four TCI flights over Joaquin, systematic measurements of a major hurricane’s outflow layer were made at high spatial resolution for the first time. Dropsondes deployed at 4-km intervals as the WB-57 flew over the center of Hurricane Patricia reveal in unprecedented detail the inner-core structure and upper-tropospheric outflow associated with this historic hurricane. Analyses and numerical modeling studies are in progress to understand and predict the complex factors that influenced Joaquin’s and Patricia’s unusual intensity changes.

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