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Peter. G. Black

Complicated internal-wave patterns are revealed in Apollo-Soyuz Test Project (ASTP) photographs of marine fog patches. Evidence for the reflection of atmospheric wave packets at water-land boundaries is contained in these patterns. Photographs of “arc,” or “ring,” clouds show that these clouds are associated with decaying maritime cumulonimbus clouds. The cloud-free inner ring delineates cold air that has been transported from aloft by thunderstorm downdrafts, thus inhibiting cumulus cloud development. There is no evidence to indicate that this clear inner ring is a result of cold-core eddies in the ocean. Other interesting cloud patterns revealed by ASTP photographs include 1) linear trails created in low stratocumulus cloud decks by passing ships, and 2) dome-shaped anvil clouds created by vigorous thunderstorms.

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Peter G. Black
and
Greg J. Holland

Abstract

The boundary layer structure of Tropical Cyclone Kerry (1979) is investigated using composite analysis of research aircraft, surface ship, and automatic weather station observations. The boundary layer was moist, convective, and strongly confluent to the east of the tropical cyclone center but was dry, subsident, and diffluent to the west. The vertical momentum transport in the eastern convective sector of Kerry was around two to three times the surface frictional dissipation. In contrast, the stable boundary layer in the western sector consisted of a shallow mixed layer capped by an equivalent potential temperature minimum and a low-level jet, which underwent a marked diurnal oscillation. Three mechanisms appear to have contributed to the observed asymmetry: 1) a general, zonal distortion arose from cyclonic rotation across a gradient of earth vorticity; 2) a westerly environmental vertical shear produced forced ascent on the east side of the storm and subsidence on the west side throughout the lower and midtroposphere; and 3) the western sector boundary layer was modified by an upstream cold tongue generated by the tropical cyclone passage. The authors present evidence that substantial drying also resulted from shear-induced mixing of the subsident environmental air in the region of the low-level jet.

Thermal boundary layer budgets are derived using both a general mixing theory approach and direct flux calculations from aircraft reconnaissance data. Use of actual sea surface temperature fields are essential. The surface flux estimates of latent heat are near the average of previous studies, but the sensible heat fluxes are downward into the ocean. Since horizontal advection also cooled the boundary layer, the thermal structure was maintained by downward fluxes of sensible heat from the top of the boundary layer of around 100 W m−2. We conclude that the pattern of oceanic cooling directly determines the pattern of vertical air-sea and advective sensible heat fluxes and indirectly determines the pattern of latent heat fluxes through forcing of PBL drying at the downwind end of the SST cold pool. It further enhances the inward penetration and negative feedback resulting from an easterly trade wind surge associated with a mobile trough in the westerlies.

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Peter G. Black
and
Richard A. Anthes

Abstract

ATS-III satellite data and conventional aerological data are used to construct detailed wind analyses of the outflow layer for four hurricanes and one tropical storm. Harmonic analysis of these data, and of the data for a mean Atlantic hurricane and a mean Pacific typhoon, shows that wave numbers 1 and 2 around the circumference of the storm account for most of the variance of momentum and kinetic energy. Subtraction of the symmetric part of the vortex circulation from the total flow to yield the “asymmetric wind” reveals two eddies located in preferred quadrants of the storm. An anticyclonic eddy is found to the right and a cyclonic eddy to the left of the storm motion. These eddies transport absolute vorticity inward, opposing the outward transport by the mean circulation. They also transport a significant amount of negative relative angular momentum outward.

The presence of inertial (or dynamic) instability is investigated. Although substantial areas of negative absolute vorticity and anomalous anticyclonic winds exist in all cases, these areas are correlated so well that the regions of dynamic instability are small.

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Eric W. Uhlhorn
and
Peter G. Black

Abstract

Surface winds in hurricanes have been estimated remotely using the Stepped-Frequency Microwave Radiometer (SFMR) from the NOAA WP-3D aircraft for the past 15 years. Since the use of the GPS dropwindsonde system in hurricanes was first initiated in 1997, routine collocated SFMR and GPS surface wind estimates have been made. During the 1998, 1999, and 2001 hurricane seasons, a total of 249 paired samples were acquired and compared. The SFMR equivalent 1-min mean, 10-m level neutral stability winds were found to be biased high by 2.3 m s−1 relative to the 10-m GPS winds computed from an estimate of the mean boundary layer wind. Across the range of wind speeds from 10 to 60 m s−1, the rmse was 3.3 m s−1. The bias was found to be dependent on storm quadrant and independent of wind speed, a result that suggests a possible relationship between microwave brightness temperatures and surface wave properties. Tests of retrieved winds' sensitivities to sea surface temperature, salinity, atmospheric thermodynamic variability, and surface wind direction indicate wind speed errors of less than 1 m s−1 above 15 m s−1.

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David Atlas
and
Peter G. Black

SEASAT synthetic aperture radar (SAR) echoes from the sea have previously been shown to be the result of rain and winds produced by convective storms; rain damps the surface waves and causes echo-free holes, while the diverging winds associated with the downdraft generate waves and associated echoes surrounding the holes. Gust fronts are also evident. Such a snapshot from 8 July 1978 has been examined in conjunction with ground-based radar. This leads to the conclusion that the SAR storm footprints resulted from storm processes that occurred up to an hour or more prior to the snapshot. A sequence of events is discerned from the SAR imagery in which new cell growth is triggered in between the converging outflows of two preexisting cells. In turn, the new cell generates a mini–squall line along its expanding gust front. While such phenomena are well known over land, the spaceborne SAR now allows important inferences to be made about the nature and frequency of convective storms over the oceans. The storm effects on the sea have significant implications for spaceborne wind scatterometry and rainfall measurements. Some of the findings herein remain speculative because of the great distance to the Miami weather radar—the only source of corroborative data.

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Roger M. Wakimoto
and
Peter G. Black

A damage map documenting Hurricane Andrew's destructive landfall over southern Florida is presented. Vectors that represent the direction of winds causing damage to trees and structures are shown along with an F-scale rating in order to assess the strength of the near-surface winds. It is hypothesized that increased surface roughness once the hurricane made landfall may have contributed to a surface wind enhancement resulting in the strongest winds ever estimated (F3) for a landfall hurricane. This intense damage occurred primarily during the “second” period of strong winds associated with the east side of the eyewall. For the first time, a well-defined circulation inthe damage pattern by the second wind was documented. A superposition of radar data from Miami and Key West on top of the damage map provides the first detailed examination of the relationship between the eyewall and the surface flow field as estimated from the damage vectors.

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Francis J. Mercerent
and
Peter G. Black

Abstract

No abstract available.

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Lynn K. Shay
,
Gustavo J. Goni
, and
Peter G. Black

Abstract

On 4 October 1995, Hurricane Opal deepened from 965 to 916 hPa in the Gulf of Mexico over a 14-h period upon encountering a warm core ring (WCR) in the ocean shed by the Loop Current during an upper-level atmospheric trough interaction. Based on historical hydrographic measurements placed within the context of a two-layer model and surface height anomalies (SHA) from the radar altimeter on the TOPEX mission, upper-layer thickness fields indicated the presence of two warm core rings during September and October 1995. As Hurricane Opal passed directly over one of these WCRs, the 1-min surface winds increased from 35 to more than 60 m s−1, and the radius of maximum wind decreased from 40 to 25 km. Pre-Opal SHAs in the WCR exceeded 30 cm where the estimated depth of the 20°C isotherm was located between 175 and 200 m. Subsequent to Opal’s passage, this depth decreased approximately 50 m, which suggests upwelling underneath the storm track due to Ekman divergence.

The maximum heat loss of approximately 24 Kcal cm−2 relative to depth of the 26°C isotherm was a factor of 6 times the threshold value required to sustain a hurricane. Since most of this loss occurred over a period of 14 h, the heat content loss of 24 Kcal cm−2 equates to approximately 20 kW m−2. Previous observational findings suggest that about 10%–15% of upper-ocean cooling is due to surface heat fluxes. Estimated surface heat fluxes based upon heat content changes range from 2000 to 3000 W m−2 in accord with numerically simulated surface heat fluxes during Opal’s encounter with the WCR. Composited AVHRR-derived SSTs indicated a 2°–3°C cooling associated with vertical mixing in the along-track direction of Opal except over the WCR where AVHRR-derived and buoy-derived SSTs decreased only by about 0.5°–1°C. Thus, the WCR’s effect was to provide a regime of positive feedback to the hurricane rather than negative feedback induced by cooler waters due to upwelling and vertical mixing as observed over the Bay of Campeche and north of the WCR.

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Joseph J. Cione
,
Peter G. Black
, and
Samuel H. Houston

Abstract

Composite analyses of marine surface observations from 37 hurricanes between 1975 and 1998 show that the difference between the sea surface temperature and the surface air temperature significantly increases just outside the hurricane inner core. This increase in the sea–air contrast is primarily due to a reduction in surface air temperature and is more likely to occur when sea temperatures are at least 27°C. Results show that 90% of the observed cooling occurs 3.25°–1.25° latitude from the hurricane center, well outside the region of strongest surface winds. Since surface pressure only decreases 3 mb over this interval, the ∼2°C drop in air temperature is not a result of adiabatic expansion.

For the subset of observations that contained moisture measurements, surface specific humidity decreased 1.2 g kg−1 4.5°–1.75° latitude from the storm center. This finding suggests that the observed reduction in surface air temperature is not simply a result of near-surface evaporation from sea spray or precipitation. An alternate explanation may be that outside the hurricane inner core, unsaturated convective downdrafts act to dry and evaporatively cool the near-surface environment.

Between 3.25° and 1.25° radius, composite analyses show that low-level inflow is not isothermal, surface moisture is not constant, and the near-surface environment is not in thermodynamic equilibrium with the sea. Calculations based on these observations show that θ e decreases between 4.0° and 1.25° radius and then quickly rises near the inner core as surface pressures fall and specific humidity increases. Surface fluxes of heat and moisture are also observed to significantly increase near the inner core. The largest increase in surface sensible heat flux occurs radially inward of 1.5°, where surface winds are strong and sea–air temperature contrasts are greatest. As a result, the average Bowen ratio is 0.20∼0.5° radius from the composite storm center. This increase in sensible heat flux (in conjunction with near-saturated conditions at low to midlevels) may help explain why average surface air temperatures inside 1.25° radius remain relatively constant, despite the potential for additional cooling from evaporation and adiabatic expansion within the high wind inner core.

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Matthew D. Eastin
,
Peter G. Black
, and
William M. Gray

Abstract

Flight-level thermodynamic errors caused by the wetting of temperature and moisture sensors immersed within the airstream are studied using data from 666 radial legs collected in 31 hurricanes at pressure levels ranging from 850 to 500 mb. Concurrent measurements from a modified Barnes radiometer and a Rosemount 102 immersion thermometer are compared to identify regions, called instrument wetting events (IWE), in which Rosemount temperatures are significantly cooler than radiometer-derived temperatures by a specified amount. A total of 420 IWE are identified in the dataset. Roughly 50% of the radial legs contain at least one instrument wetting event. More than 90% of IWE are associated with updrafts containing cloud water and are confined to scales less than 10 km. IWE are also found to be more frequent in eyewalls and intense hurricanes.

Thermodynamic errors within IWE and convective updrafts and downdrafts are summarized as distributions of average temperature, specific humidity, virtual potential temperature, and equivalent potential temperature error. Distributions are skewed toward larger error values at all levels. Median average errors within IWE indicate that the thermodynamic quantities are typically too low by ∼1°C, ∼1 g kg−1, ∼1.5 K, and ∼5 K, respectively. The largest errors (>90% of the distribution) are nearly twice the median values. Error magnitudes tend to increase with height, but rarely achieve theoretical predictions. In addition, more than 65% of updrafts and 35% of downdrafts are found to contain significant thermodynamic errors. A correction method used in earlier studies was found to be inadequate at removing the majority of errors, but reduced the errors by ∼30%–50% on average.

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