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Joshua J. Alland, Brian H. Tang, and Kristen L. Corbosiero

Abstract

Idealized experiments conducted with an axisymmetric tropical cyclone (TC) model are used to assess the effects of midlevel dry air on the axisymmetric TC secondary circulation. Moist entropy diagnostics of convective parcels are used to determine how midlevel dry air affects the distribution and strength of convection. Analyzing upward and downward motions in the Eulerian radius–height coordinate system shows that the moistest simulation has stronger vertical motions and a wider overturning circulation compared to drier simulations. A Lagrangian entropy framework further analyzes convective motions by separating upward higher-entropy streams from downward lower-entropy streams. Results show that the driest simulation has a weaker mean overturning circulation with updrafts characterized by lower mean entropy compared to moister simulations. Turbulent entrainment of dry air into deep convection at midlevels is small, suggesting that the influence of midlevel dry air on convective strength and the structure of the secondary circulation are through modification of the inflow layer. Backward trajectories show low-entropy air subsiding into the subcloud layer from low to midlevels of the atmosphere between radii of 200 and 400 km. Surface fluxes increase the entropy of these parcels before they rise in convective updrafts, but the increased recovery time, combined with descending motion closer to the inner core, decreases the width of the TC secondary circulation in the driest simulation.

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Brian H. Tang, Rosimar Rios-Berrios, Joshua J. Alland, Jeremy D. Berman, and Kristen L. Corbosiero

Abstract

The sensitivity of tropical cyclone spinup time to the initial entropy deficit of the troposphere is examined in an axisymmetric hurricane model. Larger initial entropy deficits correspond to less moisture above the initial lifting condensation level of a subcloud-layer parcel. The spinup time is quantified in terms of thresholds of integrated horizontal kinetic energy within a radius of 300 km and below a height of 1.5 km. The spinup time increases sublinearly with increasing entropy deficit, indicating the greatest sensitivity lies with initial moisture profiles closer to saturation. As the moisture profile approaches saturation, there is a large increase in the low-level, area-averaged, vertical mass flux over the spinup period because of the predominance of deep convection. Higher entropy deficit experiments have a greater amount of cumulus congestus and reduced vertical mass flux over a longer duration. Consequently, the secondary circulation takes longer to build upward, and the radial influx of angular momentum is reduced. There is also a reduction in the conversion of potential available enthalpy to horizontal kinetic energy, as a result of reduced flow down the radial pressure gradient early in the spinup period. Later in the spinup period, the low-level vortex spins up relatively quickly near the nascent radius of maximum wind in the high-entropy deficit experiments, whereas the low-level vortex spins up over a wider area in the low-entropy deficit experiments.

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Joshua J. Alland, Brian H. Tang, Kristen L. Corbosiero, and George H. Bryan

Abstract

This study examines how midlevel dry air and vertical wind shear (VWS) can modulate tropical cyclone (TC) development via downdraft ventilation. A suite of experiments was conducted with different combinations of initial midlevel moisture and VWS. A strong, positive, linear relationship exists between the low-level vertical mass flux in the inner core and TC intensity. The linear increase in vertical mass flux with intensity is not due to an increased strength of upward motions but, instead, is due to an increased areal extent of strong upward motions (w > 0.5 m s−1). This relationship suggests physical processes that could influence the vertical mass flux, such as downdraft ventilation, influence the intensity of a TC. The azimuthal asymmetry and strength of downdraft ventilation is associated with the vertical tilt of the vortex: downdraft ventilation is located cyclonically downstream from the vertical tilt direction and its strength is associated with the magnitude of the vertical tilt. Importantly, equivalent potential temperature of parcels associated with downdraft ventilation trajectories quickly recovers via surface fluxes in the subcloud layer, but the areal extent of strong upward motions is reduced. Altogether, the modulating effects of downdraft ventilation on TC development are the downward transport of low–equivalent potential temperature, negative-buoyancy air left of shear and into the upshear semicircle, as well as low-level radial outflow upshear, which aid in reducing the areal extent of strong upward motions, thereby reducing the vertical mass flux in the inner core, and stunting TC development.

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Joshua J. Alland, Brian H. Tang, Kristen L. Corbosiero, and George H. Bryan

Abstract

This study demonstrates how midlevel dry air and vertical wind shear (VWS) can modulate tropical cyclone (TC) development via radial ventilation. A suite of experiments was conducted with different combinations of initial midlevel moisture and VWS environments. Two radial ventilation structures are documented. The first structure is positioned in a similar region as rainband activity and downdraft ventilation (documented in Part I) between heights of 0 and 3 km. Parcels associated with this first structure transport low–equivalent potential temperature air inward and downward left of shear and upshear to suppress convection. The second structure is associated with the vertical tilt of the vortex and storm-relative flow between heights of 5 and 9 km. Parcels associated with this second structure transport low–relative humidity air inward upshear and right of shear to suppress convection. Altogether, the modulating effects of radial ventilation on TC development are the inward transport of low–equivalent potential temperature air, as well as low-level radial outflow upshear, which aid in reducing the areal extent of strong upward motions, thereby reducing the vertical mass flux in the inner core, and stunting TC development.

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