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Erika L. Navarro and Gregory J. Hakim


A numerical experiment is performed to evaluate the role of the daily cycle of radiation on axisymmetric hurricane structure. Although a diurnal response in high cloudiness has been well documented previously, the link to tropical cyclone (TC) structure and intensity remains unknown. Previous modeling studies attributed differences in results to experimental setup (e.g., initial and boundary conditions) as well as to radiative parameterizations. Here, a numerically simulated TC in a statistically steady state is examined for 300 days to quantify the TC response to the daily cycle of radiation.

Fourier analysis in time reveals a spatially coherent diurnal signal in the temperature, wind, and latent heating tendency fields. This signal is statistically different from random noise and accounts for up to 62% of the variance in the TC outflow and 28% of the variance in the boundary layer. Composite analysis of each hour of the day reveals a cycle in storm intensity: a maximum is found in the morning and a minimum in the evening, with magnitudes near 1 m s−1. Anomalous latent heating forms near the inner core of the storm in the late evening, which persists throughout the early morning. Examination of the radial–vertical wind suggests two distinct circulations: 1) a radiatively driven circulation in the outflow layer due to absorption of solar radiation and 2) a convectively driven circulation in the lower and middle troposphere due to anomalous latent heating. These responses are coupled and are periodic with respect to the diurnal cycle.

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Erika L. Navarro, Gregory J. Hakim, and Hugh E. Willoughby


A modified version of the Sawyer–Eliassen equation is applied to determine the impact of periodic diurnal heating on a balanced vortex. The TC diurnal cycle is a coherent signal that arises in the cirrus canopy. However, despite thorough documentation in the literature, the dynamical mechanism remains unknown. Recent work demonstrates that periodic radiative heating in the TC outflow layer is linked with an anomalous upper-level circulation; this heating is also associated with a cycle of latent heating in the lower troposphere that corresponds to a cycle in storm intensity. Using a method that is analogous to the Sawyer–Eliassen equation, but for solutions having the same time scale as time-periodic forcing, these distributions are analyzed to determine the effect of periodic diurnal heating on an axisymmetric vortex.

Results for periodic heating in the lower troposphere show an overturning circulation that resembles the Sawyer–Eliassen solution. The model simulates positive perturbations in the azimuthal wind field of 2.5 m s−1 near the radius of maximum wind. Periodic heating near the top of the vortex produces a local overturning response in the region of heating and an inertia–buoyancy wave response in the storm environment. Comparison of the results from the modified Sawyer–Eliassen equation to those of an idealized axisymmetric solution for both heating distributions shows similarities in the structure of the perturbation wind fields, suggesting that the axisymmetric TC diurnal cycle is primarily a balanced response driven by periodic heating.

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T. J. Garrett, B. C. Navarro, C. H. Twohy, E. J. Jensen, D. G. Baumgardner, P. T. Bui, H. Gerber, R. L. Herman, A. J. Heymsfield, P. Lawson, P. Minnis, L. Nguyen, M. Poellot, S. K. Pope, F. P. J. Valero, and E. M. Weinstock


This paper presents a detailed study of a single thunderstorm anvil cirrus cloud measured on 21 July 2002 near southern Florida during the Cirrus Regional Study of Tropical Anvils and Cirrus Layers–Florida Area Cirrus Experiment (CRYSTAL-FACE). NASA WB-57F and University of North Dakota Citation aircraft tracked the microphysical and radiative development of the anvil for 3 h. Measurements showed that the cloud mass that was advected downwind from the thunderstorm was separated vertically into two layers: a cirrus anvil with cloud-top temperatures of −45°C lay below a second, thin tropopause cirrus (TTC) layer with the same horizontal dimensions as the anvil and temperatures near −70°C. In both cloud layers, ice crystals smaller than 50 μm across dominated the size distributions and cloud radiative properties. In the anvil, ice crystals larger than 50 μm aggregated and precipitated while small ice crystals increasingly dominated the size distributions; as a consequence, measured ice water contents and ice crystal effective radii decreased with time. Meanwhile, the anvil thinned vertically and maintained a stratification similar to its environment. Because effective radii were small, radiative heating and cooling were concentrated in layers approximately 100 m thick at the anvil top and base. A simple analysis suggests that the anvil cirrus spread laterally because mixing in these radiatively driven layers created horizontal pressure gradients between the cloud and its stratified environment. The TTC layer also spread but, unlike the anvil, did not dissipate—perhaps because the anvil shielded the TTC from terrestrial infrared heating. Calculations of top-of-troposphere radiative forcing above the anvil and TTC showed strong cooling that tapered as the anvil evolved.

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