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Jiaxi Hu, Daniel Rosenfeld, Alexander Ryzhkov, and Pengfei Zhang

Abstract

This study analyzes the microphysics and precipitation pattern of Hurricanes Harvey (2017) and Florence (2018) in both the eyewall and outer rainband regions. From the retrievals by a satellite red–green–blue scheme, the outer rainbands show a strong convective structure while the inner eyewall has less convective vigor (i.e., weaker upper-level reflectivities and electrification), which may be related to stronger vertical wind shear that hinders fast vertical motions. The WSR-88D column-vertical profiles further confirm that the outer rainband clouds have strong vertical motion and large ice-phase hydrometeor formation aloft, which correlates well with 3D Lightning Mapping Array source counts in height and time. From the results from this study, it is determined that the inner eyewall region is dominated by warm rain, whereas the external rainband region contains intense mixed-phase precipitation. External rainbands are defined here as those that reside outside of the main hurricane circulation, associated with surface tropical storm wind speeds. The synergy of satellite and radar dual-polarization parameters is instrumental in distinguishing between the key microphysical features of intense convective rainbands and the warm-rain-dominated eyewall regions within the hurricanes. Substantial amounts of ice aloft and intense updrafts in the external rainbands are indicative of heavy surface precipitation, which can have important implications for severe weather warnings and quantitative precipitation forecasts. The novel part of this study is to combine ground-based radar measurement with satellite observations to study hurricane microphysical structure from surface to cloud top so as to fill in the gaps between the two observational techniques.

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Yun Lin, Yuan Wang, Bowen Pan, Jiaxi Hu, Yangang Liu, and Renyi Zhang

Abstract

A continental cloud complex, consisting of shallow cumuli, a deep convective cloud (DCC), and stratus, is simulated by a cloud-resolving Weather Research and Forecasting Model to investigate the aerosol microphysical effect (AME) and aerosol radiative effect (ARE) on the various cloud regimes and their transitions during the Department of Energy Routine Atmospheric Radiation Measurement Aerial Facility Clouds with Low Optical Water Depths Optical Radiative Observations (RACORO) campaign. Under an elevated aerosol loading with AME only, a reduced cloudiness for the shallow cumuli and stratus resulted from more droplet evaporation competing with suppressed precipitation, but an enhanced cloudiness for the DCC is attributed to more condensation. With the inclusion of ARE, the shallow cumuli are suppressed owing to the thermodynamic effects of light-absorbing aerosols. The responses of DCC and stratus to aerosols are monotonic with AME only but nonmonotonic with both AME and ARE. The DCC is invigorated because of favorable convection and moisture conditions at night induced by daytime ARE, via the so-called aerosol-enhanced conditional instability mechanism. The results reveal that the overall aerosol effects on the cloud complex are distinct from the individual cloud types, highlighting that the aerosol–cloud interactions for diverse cloud regimes and their transitions need to be evaluated to assess the regional and global climatic impacts.

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Bowen Pan, Yuan Wang, Jiaxi Hu, Yun Lin, Jen-Shan Hsieh, Timothy Logan, Xidan Feng, Jonathan H. Jiang, Yuk L. Yung, and Renyi Zhang

Abstract

The radiative and microphysical properties of Saharan dust are believed to impact the Atlantic regional climate and tropical cyclones (TCs), but the detailed mechanism remains uncertain. In this study, atmosphere-only simulations are performed from 2002 to 2006 using the Community Atmospheric Model, version 5.1, with and without dust emission from the Sahara Desert. The Saharan dust exhibits noticeable impacts on the regional longwave and shortwave radiation, cloud formation, and the convective systems over West Africa and the tropical Atlantic. The African easterly jet and West African monsoon are modulated by dust, leading to northward shifts of the intertropical convergence zone and the TC genesis region. The dust events induce positive midlevel moisture and entropy deficit anomalies, enhancing the TC genesis. On the other hand, the increased vertical wind shear and decreased low-level vorticity and potential intensity by dust inhibit TC formation in the genesis region. The ventilation index shows a decrease in the intensification region and an increase in the genesis region by dust, corresponding to favorable and unfavorable TC activities, respectively. The comparison of nondust scenarios in 2005 and 2006 shows more favorable TC conditions in 2005 characterized by higher specific humidity and potential intensity, but lower ventilation index, wind shear, and entropy deficit. Those are attributable to the observed warmer sea surface temperature (SST) in 2005, in which dust effects can be embedded. Our results imply significant dust perturbations on the radiative budget, hydrological cycle, and large-scale environments relevant to TC activity over the Atlantic.

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Cameron R. Homeyer, Alexandre O. Fierro, Benjamin A. Schenkel, Anthony C. Didlake Jr., Greg M. McFarquhar, Jiaxi Hu, Alexander V. Ryzhkov, Jeffrey B. Basara, Amanda M. Murphy, and Jonathan Zawislak

Abstract

Polarimetric radar observations from the NEXRAD WSR-88D operational radar network in the contiguous United States, routinely available since 2013, are used to reveal three prominent microphysical signatures in landfalling tropical cyclones: 1) hydrometeor size sorting within the eyewall convection, 2) vertical displacement of the melting layer within the inner core, and 3) dendritic growth layers within stratiform regions of the inner core. Size sorting signatures within eyewall convection are observed with greater frequency and prominence in more intense hurricanes, and are observed predominantly within the deep-layer environmental wind shear vector-relative quadrants that harbor the greatest frequency of deep convection (i.e., downshear and left-of-shear). Melting-layer displacements are shown that exceed 1 km in altitude compared to melting-layer altitudes in outer rainbands and are complemented by analyses of archived dropsonde data. Dendritic growth and attendant snow aggregation signatures in the inner core are found to occur more often when echo-top altitudes are low (≤10 km MSL), nearer the −15°C isotherm commonly associated with dendritic growth. These signatures, uniquely observed by polarimetric radar, provide greater insight into the physical structure and thermodynamic characteristics of tropical cyclones, which are important for improving rainfall estimation and the representation of tropical cyclones in numerical models.

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