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Haiyan Jiang

Abstract

Convective intensity proxies measured by the Tropical Rainfall Measuring Mission (TRMM) Microwave Imager (TMI), Precipitation Radar (PR), and Visible and Infrared Scanner (VIRS) are used to assess the relationship between intense convection in the inner core and tropical cyclone (TC) intensity change. Using the cumulative distribution functions of 24-h intensity changes from the 1998–2008 best-track data for global TCs, five intensity change categories are defined: rapidly intensifying (RI), slowly intensifying, neutral, slowly weakening, and rapidly weakening. TRMM observations of global TCs during 1998–2008 are used to generate the distributions of convective properties in the storm’s inner-core region for different storm intensity change categories. To examine the hypothesis of hot towers near the eye as an indicator of RI, hot towers are defined by precipitation features with 20-dBZ radar echo height reaching 14.5 km.

The differences in the convective parameters between rapidly intensifying TCs and slowly intensifying, neutral, slowly weakening, and rapidly weakening TCs are quantified using statistical analysis. It is found that statistically significant differences of three out of four convective intensity parameters in the inner core exist between RI and non-RI storms. Between RI and slowly intensifying TCs, a statistically significant difference exists for the minimum 11-μm IR brightness temperature T B11 in the inner core. This indicates that a relationship does exist between inner-core convective intensity and TC intensity change. The results in this study also suggest that the rate of intensification appears to be influenced by convective activity in the inner core and the ability to predict RI might be further improved by using convective parameters. With regard to different convective proxies, the relationships are different. The minimum T B11, upper-level maximum radar reflectivities, and maximum 20-dBZ radar echo height in the inner core are best associated with the rate of TC intensity change, while the minimum 85-GHz polarization corrected brightness temperature (PCT) shows some ambiguities in relation to intensity change. The minimum 37-GHz PCT shows no significant relationship with TC intensity change, probably because of the contamination of the ice scattering signal by emission from rain and liquid water in this channel.

By examining the probability of RI for each convective parameter for which statistically significant differences at the 95% level were found of RI and non-RI cases, it is found that all three parameters provide additional information relative to climatology. The most skillful parameter is minimum T B11, and the second is maximum 20-dBZ height, followed by minimum 85-GHz PCT. However, the increases of RI probability from the larger sample mean by using these predictors are not very large.

When using the existence of hot towers as a predictor, it is found that the probabilities of RI and slowly intensifying increase and those of slowly weakening and rapidly weakening decrease for samples with hot towers in the inner core. However, the increases for intensifying and decreases for weakening are not substantial, indicating that hot towers are neither a necessary nor a sufficient condition for RI.

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Cheng Tao
and
Haiyan Jiang

Abstract

Global distribution of hot towers in tropical cyclones (TCs) is statistically quantified using an 11-yr Tropical Rainfall Measuring Mission (TRMM) Tropical Cyclone Precipitation Feature (TCPF) database. From 6003 individual TRMM overpasses of 869 TCs, about 1.6% of TC convective systems are found to penetrate 14 km and about 0.1% of them even reach the 380-K potential temperature level. Among six TC-prone basins, the highest population of TC convective systems and those with hot towers are found over the northwest Pacific (NWP) basin. However, the greatest percentage of TCPFs that are hot towers [overshooting TCPFs (OTCPFs)] is found over the North Indian Ocean basin. Larger overshooting distance and ice mass are also found in this basin. The monthly variation of OTCPFs resembles that of TC activities in each basin. The percentage of OTCPFs is much higher in the inner core (IC) region (10%) than that in the inner rainband (IB; 2%) and outer rainband (OB; 1%) regions. OTCPFs in the IC region have much larger overshooting distance, area, volume, and ice mass than those in the IB and OB regions. The percentage of OTCPFs in the IC region increases as both TC intensity and intensification rate increase. About 17% of IC features in rapidly intensifying storms penetrate over 14 km, while the percentage is down to 11% for slowly intensifying, 9% for neutral, and 8% for weakening storms. A very good linear relationship is found between TC intensification rate and the percentage of TCPFs that are hot towers in the IC region.

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Cheng Tao
and
Haiyan Jiang

Abstract

Shear-relative distributions of four types of precipitation/convection in tropical cyclones (TCs) are statistically analyzed using 14 years of Tropical Rainfall Measuring Mission (TRMM) Precipitation Radar (PR) data. The dataset of 1139 TRMM PR overpasses of tropical storms through category-2 hurricanes over global TC-prone basins is divided by future 24-h intensity change. It is found that increased and widespread shallow precipitation (defined as where the 20-dBZ radar echo height <6 km) around the storm center is a first sign of rapid intensification (RI) and could be used as a predictor of the onset of RI. The contribution to total volumetric rain and latent heating from shallow and moderate precipitation (20-dBZ echo height between 6 and 10 km) in the inner core is greater in RI storms than in non-RI storms, while the opposite is true for moderately deep (20-dBZ echo height between 10 and 14 km) and very deep precipitation (20-dBZ echo height ≥14 km). The authors argue that RI is more likely triggered by the increase of shallow–moderate precipitation and the appearance of more moderately to very deep convection in the middle of RI is more likely a response or positive feedback to changes in the vortex. For RI storms, a cyclonic rotation of frequency peaks from shallow (downshear right) to moderate (downshear left) to moderately and very deep precipitation (upshear left) is found and may be an indicator of a rapidly strengthening vortex. A ring of almost 90% occurrence of total precipitation is found for storms in the middle of RI, consistent with the previous finding of the cyan and pink ring on the 37-GHz color product.

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Haiyan Jiang
and
Cheng Tao

Abstract

Based on the 12-yr (1998–2009) Tropical Rainfall Measuring Mission (TRMM) precipitation feature (PF) database, both radar and infrared (IR) observations from TRMM are used to quantify the contribution of tropical cyclones (TCs) to very deep convection (VDC) in the tropics and to compare TRMM-derived properties of VDC in TCs and non-TCs. Using a radar-based definition, it is found that the contribution of TCs to total VDC in the tropics is not much higher than the contribution of TCs to total PFs. However, the area-based contribution of TCs to overshooting convection defined by IR is 13.3%, which is much higher than the 3.2% contribution of TCs to total PFs. This helps explain the contradictory results between previous radar-based and IR-based studies and indicates that TCs only contribute disproportionately large amount of overshooting convection containing mainly small ice particles that are barely detected by the TRMM radar. VDC in non-TCs over land has the highest maximum 30- and 40-dBZ height and the strongest ice-scattering signature derived from microwave 85- and 37-GHz observations, while VDC in TCs has the coldest minimum IR brightness temperature and largest overshooting distance and area. This suggests that convection is much more intense in non-TCs over land but is much deeper or colder in TCs. It is found that VDC in TCs usually has smaller environmental shear but larger total precipitable water and convective available potential energy than those in non-TCs. These findings offer evidence that TCs may contribute disproportionately to troposphere-to-stratosphere heat and moisture exchange.

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Oscar Guzman
and
Haiyan Jiang

Abstract

Estimating the magnitude of tropical cyclone (TC) rainfall at different landfalling stages is an important aspect of the TC forecast that directly affects the level of response from emergency managers. In this study, a climatology of the TC rainfall magnitude as a function of the location of the TC centers within distance intervals from the coast and the percentage of the raining area over the land is presented on a global scale. A total of 1834 TCs in the period from 2000 until 2019 are analyzed using satellite information to characterize the precipitation magnitude, volumetric rain, rainfall area, and axial-symmetric properties within the proposed landfalling categories, with an emphasis on the postlandfall stages. We found that TCs experience rainfall maxima in regions adjacent to the coast when more than 50% of their rainfall area is over the water. TC rainfall is also analyzed over the entire TC extent and the portion over land. When the total extent is considered, rainfall intensity, volumetric rain, and rainfall area increase with wind speed intensity. However, once it is quantified over the land only, we found that rainfall intensity exhibits a nearly perfect inversely proportional relation with the increase in TC rainfall area. In addition, when a TC with life maximum intensity of a major hurricane makes landfall as a tropical depression or tropical storm, it usually produces the largest spatial extent and the highest volumetric rain.

Significant Statement

This study aims to describe the cycle of tropical cyclone (TC) precipitation magnitude through a new approach that defines the landfall categories as a function of the percentage of the TC precipitating area over the land and ocean, along with the location of the TC centers within distance intervals from the coast. Our central hypothesis is that TC rainfall should exhibit distinct features in the long-term satellite time series for each of the proposed stages. We particularly focused on the overland events due to their effects on human activities, finding that the TCs that at some point of their life cycle reached major hurricane strength and made landfall as a tropical storm or tropical depression produced the highest volumetric rain over the land surface. This research also presents key observational evidence of the relationship between the rain rate, raining area, and volumetric rain for landfalling TCs.

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Xinxi Wang
and
Haiyan Jiang

Abstract

Based on 35-yr (1982–2016) best track and Statistical Hurricane Intensity Prediction Scheme data, this study examined climatology of rapidly intensifying (RI) and slowly intensifying (SI) events as well as their time evolutions of storm-related and environmental parameters for tropical cyclones (TCs) in both North Atlantic (AL) and eastern North Pacific (EP) basins. Major hurricanes were intensified mainly through RI while tropical depression and tropical storms were intensified through SI. The percentage of TCs that underwent RI peaks in the late hurricane season whereas the percentage of TCs that underwent SI peaks early. For the first time in the literature, this study found that RI events have significantly different storm-related and environmental characteristics than SI events for before-, during-, and after-event stages. In both AL and EP basins, RI events always intensify significantly faster during the previous 12 h, are located farther south, and have warmer sea surface and 200-hPa temperatures, greater ocean heat content, larger 200-hPa divergence, weaker vertical wind shear, and weaker 200-hPa westerly flow than SI events for all event-relative stages. In the AL basin, RI events have larger low-level and midlevel relative humidity and larger 850-hPa relative vorticity than SI events for all event-relative stages in the AL and most event-relative stages in the EP. RI events are associated with more convectively unstable atmosphere and are farther away from their maximum potential intensities than SI events for most event-relative stages in the AL and for all event-relative stages in the EP.

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Oscar Guzman
and
Haiyan Jiang

Abstract

Based on 19 years of precipitation data collected by the Tropical Rainfall Measuring Mission (TRMM) and the Global Precipitation Measurement (GPM) mission, a comparison of the rainfall produced by tropical cyclones (TCs) in different global basins is presented. A total of 1789 TCs were examined in the period from 1998 to 2016 by taking advantage of more than 47 737 observations of TRMM and GPM 3B42 multisatellite-derived rainfall amounts. The axisymmetric component of the TC rainfall is analyzed in all TC-prone basins. The resulting radial profiles show that major hurricanes in the Atlantic basin exhibit significantly heavier inner-core rainfall rates than those in any other basins. To explain the possible causes of this difference, rainfall distributions for major hurricanes are stratified according to different TC intensity and environmental variables. Based on the examination of these parameters, we found that the stronger rainfall rates in the Atlantic major hurricanes are associated with higher values of convective available potential energy, drier relative humidity in the low to middle troposphere, colder air temperature at 250 hPa, and stronger vertical wind shear than other basins. These results have important implications in the refining of our understanding of the mechanisms of TC rainfall.

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Xiang Wang
and
Haiyan Jiang

Abstract

There is uncertainty as to whether the typical warm-core structure of tropical cyclones (TCs) is featured as an upper-level warm core or not. It has been hypothesized that data from the satellite-borne Advanced Microwave Sounding Unit (AMSU) are inadequate to resolve a realistic TC warm-core structure. This study first evaluates 13 years of Atmospheric Infrared Sounder (AIRS) temperature retrieval against recent dropsonde measurements in TCs. AIRS can resolve the TC warm-core structure well, comparable to the dropsonde observations, although the AMSU-A retrievals fail to do so. Using 13-yr AIRS data in global TCs, a global climatology of the TC warm-core structure is generated in this study. The typical warm-core height is at the upper level around 300–400 hPa for all TCs and increases with TC intensity: 400 hPa (~8 km) for tropical storms, 300 hPa (~10 km) for category 1–3 hurricanes, 250–300 hPa (~10–11 km) for category 4 hurricanes, and 150 hPa (~14 km) for category 5 hurricanes. The range of warm-core height varies with TC intensity as well. A strong correlation between TC intensity and warm-core strength is found. A weaker but still significant correlation between TC intensity and warm-core height is also found.

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Cheng Tao
,
Haiyan Jiang
, and
Jonathan Zawislak

Abstract

Using 16-yr Tropical Rainfall Measuring Mission (TRMM) Precipitation Radar (PR) observations, rainfall properties in the inner-core region of tropical cyclones (TCs) and the relative importance of stratiform and convective precipitation are examined with respect to the evolution of rapid intensification (RI) events. The onset of RI follows a significant increase in the occurrence and azimuthal coverage of stratiform rainfall in all shear-relative quadrants, especially upshear left. The importance of the increased stratiform occurrence in RI storms is further confirmed by the comparison of two groups of slowly intensifying (SI) storms with one group that underwent RI and the other that did not. Statistically, SI storms that do not undergo RI during their life cycle have a much lower percent occurrence of stratiform rain within the inner core. The relatively greater areal coverage of stratiform rain in RI cases appears to be related to the moistening/humidification of the inner core, particularly in the upshear quadrants. In contrast to rainfall frequency, rainfall intensity and total volumetric rain do not increase much until several hours after RI onset, which is more likely a response or positive feedback rather than the trigger of RI. Despite a low frequency of occurrence, the overall contribution to total volumetric rain by convective precipitation is comparable to that of stratiform rain, owing to its intense rain rate.

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Bradley W. Klotz
and
Haiyan Jiang

Abstract

Because surface wind speeds within tropical cyclones are important for operational and research interests, it is vital to understand surface wind structure in relation to various storm and environmental influences. In this study, global rain-corrected scatterometer winds are used to quantify and evaluate characteristics of tropical cyclone surface wind asymmetries using a modified version of a proven aircraft-based low-wavenumber analysis tool. The globally expanded surface wind dataset provides an avenue for a robust statistical analysis of the changes in structure due to tropical cyclone intensity, deep-layer vertical wind shear, and wind shear’s relationship with forward storm motion. A presentation of the quantified asymmetry indicates that wind shear has a significant influence on tropical storms at all radii but only for areas away from the radius of maximum wind in both nonmajor and major hurricanes. Evaluation of a shear’s directional relation to motion indicates that a cyclonic rotation of the surface wind field asymmetry from downshear left to upshear left occurs in conjunction with an anticyclonic rotation of the directional relationship (i.e., from shear direction to the left, same, right, or opposite of the motion direction). It was discovered that in tropical cyclones experiencing effects from wind shear, an increase in absolute angular momentum transport occurs downshear and often downshear right. The surface wind speed low-wavenumber maximum in turn forms downwind of this momentum transport.

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