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Stephen R. Guimond and Jon M. Reisner

Abstract

In Part I of this study, a new algorithm for retrieving the latent heat field in tropical cyclones from airborne Doppler radar was presented and fields from rapidly intensifying Hurricane Guillermo (1997) were shown. In Part II, the usefulness and relative accuracy of the retrievals is assessed by inserting the heating into realistic numerical simulations at 2-km resolution and comparing the generated wind structure to the radar analyses of Guillermo. Results show that using the latent heat retrievals as forcing produces very low intensity and structure errors (in terms of tangential wind speed errors and explained wind variance) and significantly improves simulations relative to a predictive run that is highly calibrated to the latent heat retrievals by using an ensemble Kalman filter procedure to estimate values of key model parameters.

Releasing all the heating/cooling in the latent heat retrieval results in a simulation with a large positive bias in Guillermo’s intensity that motivates the need to determine the saturation state in the hurricane inner-core retrieval through a procedure similar to that described in Part I of this study. The heating retrievals accomplish high-quality structure statistics by forcing asymmetries in the wind field with the generally correct amplitude, placement, and timing. In contrast, the latent heating fields generated in the predictive simulation contain a significant bias toward large values and are concentrated in bands (rather than discrete cells) stretched around the vortex. The Doppler radar–based latent heat retrievals presented in this series of papers should prove useful for convection initialization and data assimilation to reduce errors in numerical simulations of tropical cyclones.

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Stephen R. Guimond, Gerald M. Heymsfield, and F. Joseph Turk

Abstract

A synthesis of remote sensing and in situ observations throughout the life cycle of Hurricane Dennis (2005) during the NASA Tropical Cloud Systems and Processes (TCSP) experiment is presented. Measurements from the ER-2 Doppler radar (EDOP), the Advanced Microwave Sounding Unit (AMSU), airborne radiometer, and flight-level instruments are used to provide a multiscale examination of the storm. The main focus is an episode of deep convective bursts (“hot towers”) occurring during a mature stage of the storm and preceding a period of rapid intensification (11-hPa pressure drop in 1 h 35 min). The vigorous hot towers penetrated to 16-km height, had maximum updrafts of 20 m s−1 at 12–14-km height, and possessed a strong transverse circulation through the core of the convection. Significant downdrafts (maximum of 10–12 m s−1) on the flanks of the updrafts were observed, with their cumulative effects hypothesized to result in the observed increases in the warm core. In one ER-2 overpass, subsidence was transported toward the eye by 15–20 m s−1 inflow occurring over a deep layer (0.5–10 km) coincident with a hot tower.

Fourier analysis of the AMSU satellite measurements revealed a large shift in the storm’s warm core structure, from asymmetric to axisymmetric, ∼12 h after the convective bursts began. In addition, flight-level wind calculations of the axisymmetric tangential velocity and inertial stability showed a contraction of the maximum winds and an increase in the stiffness of the vortex, respectively, after the EDOP observations.

The multiscale observations presented here reveal unique, ultra-high-resolution details of hot towers and their coupling to the parent vortex, the balanced dynamics of which can be generally explained by the axisymmetrization and efficiency theories.

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Stephen R. Guimond, Mark A. Bourassa, and Paul D. Reasor

Abstract

Despite the fact that latent heating in cloud systems drives many atmospheric circulations, including tropical cyclones, little is known of its magnitude and structure, largely because of inadequate observations. In this work, a reasonably high-resolution (2 km), four-dimensional airborne Doppler radar retrieval of the latent heat of condensation/evaporation is presented for rapidly intensifying Hurricane Guillermo (1997). Several advancements in the basic retrieval algorithm are shown, including 1) analyzing the scheme within the dynamically consistent framework of a numerical model, 2) identifying algorithm sensitivities through the use of ancillary data sources, and 3) developing a precipitation budget storage term parameterization. The determination of the saturation state is shown to be an important part of the algorithm for updrafts of ~5 m s−1 or less.

The uncertainties in the magnitude of the retrieved heating are dominated by errors in the vertical velocity. Using a combination of error propagation and Monte Carlo uncertainty techniques, biases are found to be small, and randomly distributed errors in the heating magnitude are ~16% for updrafts greater than 5 m s−1 and ~156% for updrafts of 1 m s−1. Even though errors in the vertical velocity can lead to large uncertainties in the latent heating field for small updrafts/downdrafts, in an integrated sense the errors are not as drastic.

In Part II, the impact of the retrievals is assessed by inserting the heating into realistic numerical simulations at 2-km resolution and comparing the generated wind structure to the Doppler radar observations of Guillermo.

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Stephen R. Guimond, Lin Tian, Gerald M. Heymsfield, and Stephen J. Frasier

Abstract

Algorithms for the retrieval of atmospheric winds in precipitating systems from downward-pointing, conically scanning airborne Doppler radars are presented. The focus is on two radars: the Imaging Wind and Rain Airborne Profiler (IWRAP) and the High-Altitude IWRAP (HIWRAP). The IWRAP is a dual-frequency (C and Ku bands), multibeam (incidence angles of 30°–50°) system that flies on the NOAA WP-3D aircraft at altitudes of 2–4 km. The HIWRAP is a dual-frequency (Ku and Ka bands), dual-beam (incidence angles of 30° and 40°) system that flies on the NASA Global Hawk aircraft at altitudes of 18–20 km.

Retrievals of the three Cartesian wind components over the entire radar sampling volume are described, which can be determined using either a traditional least squares or variational solution procedure. The random errors in the retrievals due to the airborne radar geometry and noise in the Doppler velocities are evaluated using both an error propagation analysis with least squares theory and a numerical simulation of a hurricane. These analyses show that the vertical and along-track wind errors have strong across-track dependence with values ranging from 0.25 m s−1 at nadir to 2.0 and 1.0 m s−1 at the swath edges, respectively. The average across-track wind errors are ~2.5 m s−1 or 7% of the hurricane wind speed. For typical rotated figure-four flight patterns through hurricanes, the zonal and meridional wind speed errors are ~1.5–2.0 m s−1. Evaluations of both retrieval methods show that the variational procedure is generally preferable to the least squares procedure.

Examples of measured data retrievals from IWRAP during an eyewall replacement cycle in Hurricane Isabel (2003) and from HIWRAP during the development of Tropical Storm Matthew (2010) are shown. Comparisons of IWRAP-measured data retrievals at nadir to flight-level data show errors of ~2.0 m s−1 for vertical winds and ~4.0 m s−1 for horizontal wind speed (~7% of the hurricane wind speed). Additional sources of error, such as hydrometeor fall speed uncertainties and a small height offset in the comparisons, are likely responsible for the larger vertical wind errors when compared to the simulated error analyses.

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Stephen R. Guimond, Jun A. Zhang, Joseph W. Sapp, and Stephen J. Frasier

Abstract

The structure of coherent turbulence in an eyewall replacement cycle in Hurricane Rita (2005) is presented from novel airborne Doppler radar observations using the Imaging Wind and Rain Airborne Profiler (IWRAP). The IWRAP measurements and three-dimensional (3D) wind vector calculations at a grid spacing of 250 m in the horizontal and 30 m in the vertical reveal the ubiquitous presence of organized turbulent eddies in the lower levels of the storm. The data presented here, and the larger collection of IWRAP measurements, currently are the highest-resolution Doppler radar 3D wind vectors ever obtained in a hurricane over the open ocean. Coincident data from NOAA airborne radars, the Stepped Frequency Microwave Radiometer, and flight-level data help to place the IWRAP observations into context and provide independent validation. The typical characteristics of the turbulent eddies are the following: radial wavelengths of ~1–3 km (mean value is ~2 km), depths from the ocean surface up to flight level (~1.5 km), aspect ratio of ~1.3, and horizontal wind speed perturbations of 10–20 m s−1. The most intense eddy activity is located on the inner edge of the outer eyewall during the concentric eyewall stage with a shift to the inner eyewall during the merging stage. The evolving structure of the vertical wind shear is connected to this shift and together these characteristics have several similarities to boundary layer roll vortices. However, eddy momentum flux analysis reveals that high-momentum air is being transported upward, in contrast with roll vortices, with large positive values (~150 m2 s−2) found in the turbulent filaments. In the decaying inner eyewall, elevated tangential momentum is also being transported radially outward to the intensifying outer eyewall. These results indicate that the eddies may have connections to potential vorticity waves with possible modifications due to boundary layer shear instabilities.

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Anthony C. Didlake Jr., Gerald M. Heymsfield, Paul D. Reasor, and Stephen R. Guimond

Abstract

Two eyewall replacement cycles were observed in Hurricane Gonzalo by the NOAA P3 Tail (TA) radar and the recently developed NASA High-Altitude Imaging Wind and Rain Airborne Profiler (HIWRAP) radar. These observations captured detailed precipitation and kinematic features of Gonzalo’s concentric eyewalls both before and after the outer eyewall’s winds became the vortex maximum winds. The data were analyzed relative to the deep-layer environmental wind shear vector. During the beginning eyewall replacement cycle stages, the inner and outer eyewalls exhibited different asymmetries. The inner eyewall asymmetry exhibited significant low-level inflow, updrafts, and positive tangential acceleration in the downshear quadrants, consistent with observational and theoretical studies. The outer eyewall asymmetry exhibited these features in the left-of-shear quadrants, further downwind from those of the inner eyewall. It is suggested that the low-level inflow occurring at the outer but not at the inner eyewall in the downwind regions signals a barrier effect that contributes to the eventual decay of the inner eyewall. Toward the later eyewall replacement stages, the outer eyewall asymmetry shifts upwind, becoming more aligned with the asymmetry of the earlier inner eyewall. This upwind shift is consistent with the structural evolution of eyewall replacement as the outer eyewall transitions into the primary eyewall of the storm.

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Anthony C. Didlake Jr., Gerald M. Heymsfield, Lin Tian, and Stephen R. Guimond

Abstract

The coplane analysis technique for mapping the three-dimensional wind field of precipitating systems is applied to the NASA High-Altitude Wind and Rain Airborne Profiler (HIWRAP). HIWRAP is a dual-frequency Doppler radar system with two downward-pointing and conically scanning beams. The coplane technique interpolates radar measurements onto a natural coordinate frame, directly solves for two wind components, and integrates the mass continuity equation to retrieve the unobserved third wind component. This technique is tested using a model simulation of a hurricane and compared with a global optimization retrieval. The coplane method produced lower errors for the cross-track and vertical wind components, while the global optimization method produced lower errors for the along-track wind component. Cross-track and vertical wind errors were dependent upon the accuracy of the estimated boundary condition winds near the surface and at nadir, which were derived by making certain assumptions about the vertical velocity field. The coplane technique was then applied successfully to HIWRAP observations of Hurricane Ingrid (2013). Unlike the global optimization method, the coplane analysis allows for a transparent connection between the radar observations and specific analysis results. With this ability, small-scale features can be analyzed more adequately and erroneous radar measurements can be identified more easily.

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Stephen R. Guimond, Gerald M. Heymsfield, Paul D. Reasor, and Anthony C. Didlake Jr.

Abstract

The evolution of rapidly intensifying Hurricane Karl (2010) is examined from a suite of remote sensing observations during the NASA Genesis and Rapid Intensification Processes (GRIP) field experiment. The novelties of this study are in the analysis of data from the airborne Doppler radar High-Altitude Imaging Wind and Rain Airborne Profiler (HIWRAP) and the new Global Hawk airborne platform that allows long endurance sampling of hurricanes. Supporting data from the High-Altitude Monolithic Microwave Integrated Circuit (MMIC) Sounding Radiometer (HAMSR) microwave sounder coincident with HIWRAP and coordinated flights with the NOAA WP-3D aircraft help to provide a comprehensive understanding of the storm. The focus of the analysis is on documenting and understanding the structure, evolution, and role of small-scale deep convective forcing in the storm intensification process. Deep convective bursts are sporadically initiated in the downshear quadrants of the storm and rotate into the upshear quadrants for a period of ~12 h during the rapid intensification. The aircraft data analysis indicates that the bursts are being formed and maintained through a combination of two main processes: 1) convergence generated from counterrotating mesovortex circulations and the larger vortex-scale flow and 2) the turbulent (scales of ~25 km) transport of anomalously warm, buoyant air from the eye to the eyewall at low levels. The turbulent mixing across the eyewall interface and forced convective descent adjacent to the bursts assists in carving out the eye of Karl, which leads to an asymmetric enhancement of the warm core. The mesovortices play a key role in the evolution of the features described above. The Global Hawk aircraft allowed an examination of the vortex response and axisymmetrization period in addition to the burst pulsing phase. A pronounced axisymmetric development of the vortex is observed following the pulsing phase that includes a sloped eyewall structure and formation of a clear, wide eye.

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Charles N. Helms, Matthew L. Walker McLinden, Gerald M. Heymsfield, and Stephen R. Guimond

Abstract

The present study describes methods to reduce the uncertainty of velocity–azimuth display (VAD) wind and deformation retrievals from downward-pointing, conically scanning, airborne Doppler radars. These retrievals have important applications in data assimilation and real-time data processing. Several error sources for VAD retrievals are considered here, including violations to the underlying wind field assumptions, Doppler velocity noise, data gaps, temporal variability, and the spatial weighting function of the VAD retrieval. Specific to airborne VAD retrievals, we also consider errors produced due to the radar scans occurring while the instrument platform is in motion. While VAD retrievals are typically performed using data from a single antenna revolution, other strategies for selecting data can be used to reduce retrieval errors. Four such data selection strategies for airborne VAD retrievals are evaluated here with respect to their effects on the errors. These methods are evaluated using the second hurricane nature run numerical simulation, analytic wind fields, and observed Doppler radar radial velocities. The proposed methods are shown to reduce the median absolute error of the VAD wind retrievals, especially in the vicinity of deep convection embedded in stratiform precipitation. The median absolute error due to wind field assumption violations for the along-track and for the across-track wind is reduced from 0.36 to 0.08 m s−1 and from 0.35 to 0.24 m s−1, respectively. Although the study focuses on Doppler radars, the results are equally applicable to conically scanning Doppler lidars as well.

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Humberto C. Godinez, Jon M. Reisner, Alexandre O. Fierro, Stephen R. Guimond, and Jim Kao

Abstract

In this work the authors determine key model parameters for rapidly intensifying Hurricane Guillermo (1997) using the ensemble Kalman filter (EnKF). The approach is to utilize the EnKF as a tool only to estimate the parameter values of the model for a particular dataset. The assimilation is performed using dual-Doppler radar observations obtained during the period of rapid intensification of Hurricane Guillermo. A unique aspect of Guillermo was that during the period of radar observations strong convective bursts, attributable to wind shear, formed primarily within the eastern semicircle of the eyewall. To reproduce this observed structure within a hurricane model, background wind shear of some magnitude must be specified and turbulence and surface parameters appropriately specified so that the impact of the shear on the simulated hurricane vortex can be realized. To identify the complex nonlinear interactions induced by changes in these parameters, an ensemble of model simulations have been conducted in which individual members were formulated by sampling the parameters within a certain range via a Latin hypercube approach. The ensemble and the data, derived latent heat and horizontal winds from the dual-Doppler radar observations, are utilized in the EnKF to obtain varying estimates of the model parameters. The parameters are estimated at each time instance, and a final parameter value is obtained by computing the average over time. Individual simulations were conducted using the estimates, with the simulation using latent heat parameter estimates producing the lowest overall model forecast error.

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