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Kun Zhao, Mingjun Wang, Ming Xue, Peiling Fu, Zhonglin Yang, Xiaomin Chen, Yi Zhang, Wen-Chau Lee, Fuqing Zhang, Qing Lin, and Zhaohui Li

Abstract

On 4 October 2015, a miniature supercell embedded in an outer rainband of Typhoon Mujigae produced a major tornado in Guangdong province of China, leading to 4 deaths and up to 80 injuries. This study documents the structure and evolution of the tornadic miniature supercell using coastal Doppler radars, a sounding, videos, and a damage survey. This tornado is rated at least EF3 on the enhanced Fujita scale. It is by far the strongest typhoon rainband tornado yet documented in China, and possessed double funnels near its peak intensity.

Radar analysis indicates that this tornadic miniature supercell exhibited characteristics similar to those found in United States landfalling hurricanes, including a hook echo, low-level inf low notches, an echo top below 10 km, a small and shallow mesocyclone, and a long lifespan (3 h). The environmental conditions—which consisted of moderate convective available potential energy (CAPE), a low lifting condensation level, a small surface dewpoint depression, a large veering low-level vertical wind shear, and a large cell-relative helicity—are favorable for producing miniature supercells. The mesocyclone, with its maximum intensity at 2 km above ground level (AGL), formed an hour before tornadogenesis. A tornado vortex signature (TVS) was identified between 1 and 3 km AGL, when the parent mesocyclone reached its peak radar-indicated intensity of 30 m s−1. The TVS was located between the updraft and forward-flank downdraft, near the center of the mesocyclone. Dual-Doppler wind analysis reveals that tilting of the low-level vorticity into the vertical direction and subsequent stretching by a strong updraft were the main contributors to the mesocyclone intensification.

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Robert A. Houze Jr., Shuyi S. Chen, Wen-Chau Lee, Robert F. Rogers, James A. Moore, Gregory J. Stossmeister, Michael M. Bell, Jasmine Cetrone, Wei Zhao, and S. Rita Brodzik

The Hurricane Rainband and Intensity Change Experiment (RAINEX) used three P3 aircraft aided by high-resolution numerical modeling and satellite communications to investigate the 2005 Hurricanes Katrina, Ophelia, and Rita. The aim was to increase the understanding of tropical cyclone intensity change by interactions between a tropical cyclone's inner core and rainbands. All three aircraft had dual-Doppler radars, with the Electra Doppler Radar (ELDORA) on board the Naval Research Laboratory's P3 aircraft, providing particularly detailed Doppler radar data. Numerical model forecasts helped plan the aircraft missions, and innovative communications and data transfer in real time allowed the flights to be coordinated from a ground-based operations center. The P3 aircraft released approximately 600 dropsondes in locations targeted for optimal coordination with the Doppler radar data, as guided by the operations center. The storms were observed in all stages of development, from tropical depression to category 5 hurricane. The data from RAINEX are readily available through an online Field Catalog and RAINEX Data Archive. The RAINEX dataset is illustrated in this article by a preliminary analysis of Hurricane Rita, which was documented by multiaircraft flights on five days 1) while a tropical storm, 2) while rapidly intensifying to a category 5 hurricane, 3) during an eye-wall replacement, 4) when the hurricane became asymmetric upon encountering environmental shear, and 5) just prior to landfall.

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Travis A. O’Brien, Ashley E. Payne, Christine A. Shields, Jonathan Rutz, Swen Brands, Christopher Castellano, Jiayi Chen, William Cleveland, Michael J. DeFlorio, Naomi Goldenson, Irina V. Gorodetskaya, Héctor Inda Díaz, Karthik Kashinath, Brian Kawzenuk, Sol Kim, Mikhail Krinitskiy, Juan M. Lora, Beth McClenny, Allison Michaelis, John P. O’Brien, Christina M. Patricola, Alexandre M. Ramos, Eric J. Shearer, Wen-Wen Tung, Paul A. Ullrich, Michael F. Wehner, Kevin Yang, Rudong Zhang, Zhenhai Zhang, and Yang Zhou
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