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  • Author or Editor: Anthony C. Didlake Jr x
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Chau-Lam Yu and Anthony C. Didlake Jr.

Abstract

Using idealized simulations, we examine the storm-scale wind field response of a dry, hurricane-like vortex to prescribed stratiform heating profiles that mimic tropical cyclone (TC) spiral rainbands. These profiles were stationary with respect to the storm center to represent the diabatic forcing imposed by a quasi-stationary rainband complex. The first profile was typical of stratiform precipitation with heating above and cooling below the melting level. The vortex response included a mesoscale descending inflow and a midlevel tangential jet, consistent with previous studies. An additional response was an inward-spiraling low-level updraft radially inside the rainband heating. The second profile was a modified stratiform heating structure derived from observations and consisted of a diagonal dipole of heating and cooling. The same features were found with stronger magnitudes and larger vertical extents. The dynamics and implications of the forced low-level updraft were examined. This updraft was driven by buoyancy advection because of the stratiform-induced low-level cold pool. The stationary nature of the rainband diabatic forcing played an important role in modulating the required temperature and pressure anomalies to sustain this updraft. Simulations with moisture and full microphysics confirmed that this low-level updraft response was robust and capable of triggering sustained deep convection that could further impact the storm evolution, including having a potential role in secondary eyewall formation.

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Anthony C. Didlake Jr. and Robert A. Houze Jr.

Abstract

Airborne Doppler radar documented a variety of convective-scale structures within the inner-core rainbands of Hurricane Rita (2005). As predicted by past studies, wind shear determined azimuthal variations in the convection. All convective-scale circulations had radial inflow at low levels, upward motion, and outflow in the midtroposphere. Convective cells at smaller radii contained a low-level tangential jet determined largely by tangential acceleration due to angular momentum conservation (/r term), while cells at larger radii contained a low-level and/or midlevel jet determined jointly by the /r and vertical advection terms. The outflow was at a higher (lower) altitude for the outer (inner) cells.

Radial variations in the convective cells are attributable to differences in buoyancy and vertical shear of the radial wind (∂u/∂z). More buoyant updrafts at larger radii enhance vertical advection of υ, creating local tangential jets at midlevels. At smaller radii the stronger low-level radial inflow contributes to a greater ∂u/∂z, confining convectively generated jets to low levels. The low-level tangential jet and convectively generated pressure gradients produce outward-pointing supergradient acceleration that decelerates the boundary layer inflow. Consequently, this supergradient flow will enhance convergence and convection at the radius of inner rainband cells, increasing the likelihood of secondary eyewall formation. It is hypothesized that a critical zone for secondary eyewall formation exists where sufficiently high ∂u/∂z consistently constrains the altitudes of convectively generated supergradient flow so that convection in this radial zone leads to a newly developed eyewall. Once an incipient secondary eyewall forms at a certain radius, subsidence occurring along its inner edge separates it from the primary eyewall.

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Anthony C. Didlake Jr. and Robert A. Houze Jr.

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Airborne Doppler radar data collected from the concentric eyewalls of Hurricane Rita (2005) provide detailed three-dimensional kinematic observations of the secondary eyewall feature. The secondary eyewall radar echo shows a ring of heavy precipitation containing embedded convective cells, which have no consistent orientation or radial location. The axisymmetric mean structure has a tangential wind maximum within the reflectivity maximum at 2-km altitude and an elevated distribution of its strongest winds on the radially outer edge. The corresponding vertical vorticity field contains a low-level maximum on the inside edge, which is part of a tube of increased vorticity that rises through the center of the reflectivity tower and into the midlevels. The secondary circulation consists of boundary layer inflow that radially overshoots the secondary eyewall. A portion of this inflowing air experiences convergence and supergradient forces that cause the air to rise and flow radially outward back into the center of the reflectivity tower. This mean updraft stretches and tilts the vorticity field to increase vorticity on the radially inner side of the tangential wind maximum. Radially outside this region, perturbation motions decrease the vorticity at a comparable rate. Thus, both mean and perturbation motions actively strengthen the wind maximum of the secondary eyewall. These features combine to give the secondary eyewall a structure different from the primary eyewall as it builds to become the new replacement eyewall.

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Anthony C. Didlake Jr. and Robert A. Houze Jr.

Abstract

Airborne Doppler radar documented the stratiform sector of a rainband within the stationary rainband complex of Hurricane Rita. The stratiform rainband sector is a mesoscale feature consisting of nearly uniform precipitation and weak vertical velocities from collapsing convective cells. Upward transport and associated latent heating occur within the stratiform cloud layer in the form of rising radial outflow. Beneath, downward transport is organized into descending radial inflow in response to two regions of latent cooling. In the outer, upper regions of the rainband, sublimational cooling introduces horizontal buoyancy gradients, which produce horizontal vorticity and descending inflow similar to that of the trailing-stratiform region of a mesoscale convective system. Within the zone of heavier stratiform precipitation, melting cooling along the outer rainband edge creates a midlevel horizontal buoyancy gradient across the rainband that drives air farther inward beneath the brightband. The organization of this transport initially is robust but fades downwind as the convection dissipates.

The stratiform-induced secondary circulation results in convergence of angular momentum above the boundary layer and broadening of the storm's rotational wind field. At the radial location where inflow suddenly converges, a midlevel tangential jet develops and extends into the downwind end of the rainband complex. This circulation may contribute to ventilation of the eyewall as inflow of low-entropy air continues past the rainband in both the boundary layer and midlevels. Given the expanse of the stratiform rainband region, its thermodynamic and kinematic impacts likely help to modify the structure and intensity of the total vortex.

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Chau-Lam Yu, Anthony C. Didlake Jr., Fuqing Zhang, and Robert G. Nystrom

Abstract

The dynamics of an asymmetric rainband complex leading into secondary eyewall formation (SEF) are examined in a simulation of Hurricane Matthew (2016), with particular focus on the tangential wind field evolution. Prior to SEF, the storm experiences an axisymmetric broadening of the tangential wind field as a stationary rainband complex in the downshear quadrants intensifies. The axisymmetric acceleration pattern that causes this broadening is an inward-descending structure of positive acceleration nearly 100 km wide in radial extent and maximizes in the low levels near 50 km radius. Vertical advection from convective updrafts in the downshear-right quadrant largely contributes to the low-level acceleration maximum, while the broader inward-descending pattern is due to horizontal advection within stratiform precipitation in the downshear-left quadrant. This broad slantwise pattern of positive acceleration is due to a mesoscale descending inflow (MDI) that is driven by midlevel cooling within the stratiform regions and draws absolute angular momentum inward. The MDI is further revealed by examining the irrotational component of the radial velocity, which shows the MDI extending downwind into the upshear-left quadrant. Here, the MDI connects with the boundary layer, where new convective updrafts are triggered along its inner edge; these new upshear-left updrafts are found to be important to the subsequent axisymmetrization of the low-level tangential wind maximum within the incipient secondary eyewall.

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Anthony C. Didlake Jr., Paul D. Reasor, Robert F. Rogers, and Wen-Chau Lee

Abstract

Airborne Doppler radar captured the inner core of Hurricane Earl during the early stages of secondary eyewall formation (SEF), providing needed insight into the SEF dynamics. An organized rainband complex outside of the primary eyewall transitioned into an axisymmetric secondary eyewall containing a low-level tangential wind maximum. During this transition, the downshear-left quadrant of the storm exhibited several notable features. A mesoscale descending inflow (MDI) jet persistently occurred across broad stretches of stratiform precipitation in a pattern similar to previous studies. This negatively buoyant jet traveled radially inward and descended into the boundary layer. Farther inward, enhanced low-level inflow and intense updrafts appeared. The updraft adjacent to the MDI was likely triggered by a region of convergence and upward acceleration (induced by the negatively buoyant MDI) entering the high-θe boundary layer. This updraft and the MDI in the downshear-left quadrant accelerated the tangential winds in a radial range where the axisymmetric wind maximum of the secondary eyewall soon developed. This same quadrant eventually exhibited the strongest overturning circulation and wind maximum of the forming secondary eyewall. Given these features occurring in succession in the downshear-left quadrant, we hypothesize that the MDI plays a significant dynamical role in SEF. The MDI within a mature rainband complex persistently perturbs the boundary layer, which locally forces enhanced convection and tangential winds. These perturbations provide steady low-level forcing that projects strongly onto the axisymmetric field, and forges the way for secondary eyewall development via one of several SEF theories that invoke axisymmetric dynamical processes.

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Stephen R. Guimond, Gerald M. Heymsfield, Paul D. Reasor, and Anthony C. Didlake Jr.

Abstract

The evolution of rapidly intensifying Hurricane Karl (2010) is examined from a suite of remote sensing observations during the NASA Genesis and Rapid Intensification Processes (GRIP) field experiment. The novelties of this study are in the analysis of data from the airborne Doppler radar High-Altitude Imaging Wind and Rain Airborne Profiler (HIWRAP) and the new Global Hawk airborne platform that allows long endurance sampling of hurricanes. Supporting data from the High-Altitude Monolithic Microwave Integrated Circuit (MMIC) Sounding Radiometer (HAMSR) microwave sounder coincident with HIWRAP and coordinated flights with the NOAA WP-3D aircraft help to provide a comprehensive understanding of the storm. The focus of the analysis is on documenting and understanding the structure, evolution, and role of small-scale deep convective forcing in the storm intensification process. Deep convective bursts are sporadically initiated in the downshear quadrants of the storm and rotate into the upshear quadrants for a period of ~12 h during the rapid intensification. The aircraft data analysis indicates that the bursts are being formed and maintained through a combination of two main processes: 1) convergence generated from counterrotating mesovortex circulations and the larger vortex-scale flow and 2) the turbulent (scales of ~25 km) transport of anomalously warm, buoyant air from the eye to the eyewall at low levels. The turbulent mixing across the eyewall interface and forced convective descent adjacent to the bursts assists in carving out the eye of Karl, which leads to an asymmetric enhancement of the warm core. The mesovortices play a key role in the evolution of the features described above. The Global Hawk aircraft allowed an examination of the vortex response and axisymmetrization period in addition to the burst pulsing phase. A pronounced axisymmetric development of the vortex is observed following the pulsing phase that includes a sloped eyewall structure and formation of a clear, wide eye.

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