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Danyang Wang and Yanluan Lin

Abstract

The size and structure of tropical cyclones (TCs) are investigated using idealized numerical simulations. Three simulations are conducted: a pure dry TC (DRY), a moist reversible TC (REV) with fallout of hydrometeors in the atmosphere disallowed, and a typical TC (CTL). It was found that the width of the eyewall ascent region and the radius of maximum wind r m are much larger in DRY and REV than those in CTL. This is closely related to the deep inflow layer (~4 km) in DRY and REV associated with a different entropy restoration mechanism under the subsidence region. With the wide ascents, the close link between r m and the outer radius in DRY and REV can be well predicted by the Emanuel and Rotunno (ER11) model. The magnitude of subsidence, mainly controlled by the vertical gradient of entropy in the mid- and upper troposphere, is nearly one order greater in DRY and REV than that in CTL. This study demonstrates that the falling nature of hydrometeors poses a strong constraint on the size and structure of real world TCs via the entropy distribution in the subsidence region. The wide ascent, self-stratification in the outflow, and decently reproduced wind profile in DRY and REV suggest that DRY and REV behave like a prototype of the ER11 model with CTL being an extreme type.

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Danyang Wang and Yanluan Lin

Abstract

Tropical cyclone (TC) wind structure is important for its intensity change and induced damage, but its modulating factors remain to be explored. A heat-engine-based surface wind structure parameter α, reflecting TC’s relative compactness, is introduced and derived based on an entropy budget framework. We found that α is modulated by three key parameters: the thermodynamic efficiency ϵ PI in potential intensity theory, the Carnot efficiency ϵ C of the system, and the degree of irreversibility α irr of the system. A higher α irr contributes to a larger α and a lower heat engine efficiency. An expression linking TC intensity and compactness also emerges under this framework. Idealized simulations of a typical moist TC (CTL), a dry (DRY) TC, and a moist reversible TC (REV; in which hydrometeors do not fall out) evinced that the significantly higher α irr in CTL, due to irreversible entropy productions from precipitation dissipation, water vapor diffusion, and irreversible phase changes, contributes to its much larger compactness compared to DRY and REV. The study illustrates the importance of irreversible entropy production processes in modulating TC surface wind field. Simple estimate suggests that α will increase due to a hypothesized increased α irr with warming because of increased water content. This indicates that TCs will become more compact in a warmer climate.

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Yanluan Lin and Brian A. Colle

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This paper highlights the observed and simulated microphysical evolution of a moderate orographic rainfall event over the central Oregon Cascade Range during 4–5 December 2001 of the Second Improvement of Microphysical Parameterization through Observational Verification Experiment (IMPROVE-2). Airborne in situ measurements illustrate the spatial variations in ice crystal distributions and amounts over the windward Cascades and within some convective cells. The in situ microphysical observations, ground radars, and surface observations are compared with four bulk microphysical parameterizations (BMPs) within the Weather Research and Forecasting (WRF) model. Those WRF BMP schemes that overpredict surface precipitation along the Cascade windward slopes are shown to have too rapid graupel (rimed snow) fallout. Most BMP schemes overpredict snow in the maximum snow depositional growth region aloft, which results in excessive precipitation spillover into the immediate lee of the Cascades. Meanwhile, there is underprediction to the east of the Cascades in all BMP schemes. Those BMPs that produce more graupel than snow generate nearly twice as much precipitation over the Oregon Coast Range as the other BMPs given the cellular convection in this region. Sensitivity runs suggest that the graupel accretion of snow generates too much graupel within select WRF BMPs. Those BMPs that generate more graupel than snow have shorter cloud residence times and larger removal of available water vapor. Snow depositional growth may be overestimated by 2 times within the BMPs when a capacitance for spherical particles is used rather than for snow aggregates. Snow mass–diameter relationships also have a large impact on the snow and cloud liquid water generation. The positive definite advection scheme for moisture and hydrometeors in the WRF reduces the surface precipitation by 20%–30% over the Coast Range and improves water conservation, especially where there are convective cells.

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Yanluan Lin and Brian A. Colle

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A new bulk microphysical parameterization (BMP) scheme is presented that includes a diagnosed riming intensity and its impact on ice characteristics. As a result, the new scheme represents a continuous spectrum from pristine ice particles to heavily rimed particles and graupel using one prognostic variable [precipitating ice (PI)] rather than two separate variables (snow and graupel). In contrast to most existing parameterization schemes that use fixed empirical relationships to describe ice particles, general formulations are proposed to consider the influences of riming intensity and temperature on the projected area, mass, and fall velocity of PI particles. The proposed formulations are able to cover the variations of empirical coefficients found in previous observational studies. The new scheme also reduces the number of parameterized microphysical processes by ∼50% as compared to conventional six-category BMPs and thus it is more computationally efficient.

The new scheme (called SBU-YLIN) has been implemented in the Weather Research and Forecasting (WRF) model and compared with three other schemes for two events during the Improvement of Microphysical Parameterization through Observational Verification Experiment (IMPROVE-2) over the central Oregon Cascades. The new scheme produces surface precipitation forecasts comparable to more complicated BMPs. The new scheme reduces the snow amounts aloft as compared to other WRF schemes and compares better with observations, especially for an event with moderate riming aloft. Sensitivity tests suggest both reduced snow depositional growth rate and more efficient fallout due to the contribution of riming to the reduction of ice water content aloft in the new scheme, with a larger impact from the partially rimed snow and fallout.

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Yuanlong Li, Yuqing Wang, and Yanluan Lin

Abstract

The dynamics of eyewall contraction of tropical cyclones (TCs) has been revisited in this study based on both three-dimensional and axisymmetric simulations and dynamical diagnostics. Because eyewall contraction is closely related to the contraction of the radius of maximum wind (RMW), its dynamics is thus often studied by examining the RMW tendency in previous studies. Recently, Kieu and Stern et al. proposed two different frameworks to diagnose the RMW tendency but had different conclusions. In this study, the two frameworks are evaluated first based on theoretical analysis and idealized numerical simulations. It is shown that the framework of Kieu is a special case of the earlier framework of Willoughby et al. if the directional derivative is applied. An extension of Stern et al.’s approach not only can reproduce but also can predict the RMW tendency. A budget of the azimuthal-mean tangential wind tendency indicates that the contributions by radial and vertical advections to the RMW tendency vary with height. Namely, radial advection dominates the RMW contraction in the lower boundary layer, and vertical advection favors the RMW contraction in the upper boundary layer and lower troposphere. In addition to the curvature, the increase of the radial gradient of horizontal mixing (including the resolved eddy mixing in three dimensions) near the eyewall prohibits eyewall contraction in the lower boundary layer. Besides, the vertical mixing including surface friction also plays an important role in the cessation of eyewall contraction in the lower boundary layer.

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Yuanlong Li, Yuqing Wang, and Yanluan Lin

Abstract

Although the development of supergradient winds is well understood, the importance of supergradient winds in tropical cyclone (TC) intensification is still under debate. One view is that the spinup of the eyewall occurs by the upward advection of high tangential momentum associated with supergradient winds from the boundary layer. The other view argues that the upward advection of supergradient winds by eyewall updrafts results in an outward agradient force, leading to the formation of a shallow outflow layer immediately above the inflow boundary layer. As a result, the spinup of tangential wind in the eyewall by the upward advection of supergradient wind from the boundary layer is largely offset by the spindown of tangential wind due to the outflow resulting from the agradient force. In this study, the net contribution by the upward advection of the supergradient wind component from the boundary layer to the intensification rate and final intensity of a TC are quantified through ensemble sensitivity numerical experiments using an axisymmetric TC model. Results show that consistent with the second view above, the positive upward advection of the supergradient wind component from the boundary layer by eyewall updrafts is largely offset by the negative radial advection due to the outflow resulting from the outward agradient force. As a result, the upward advection of the supergradient wind component contributes little (often less than 4%) to the intensification rate and but it contributes about 10%–15% to the final intensity of the simulated TC due to the enhanced inner-core air–sea thermodynamic disequilibrium.

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Yuanlong Li, Yuqing Wang, and Yanluan Lin

Abstract

This is a reply to the comments by , hereafter ) on the work of , hereafter ) recently published in the Journal of the Atmospheric Sciences. All the comments and concerns by have been well addressed or clarified. We think that most of the comments by are not in line with the intention of and provide one-sided and thus little scientifically meaningful arguments. Regarding the comment on the adequacy of the methodology adopted in , we believe that the design of the thought (sensitivity) experiment is adequate to address the scientific issue under debate and helps quantify the contribution by the upward advection of the supergradient component of boundary layer wind to tropical cyclone intensification, which is shown to be very marginal. Note that we are open to accept any alternative, better methods to be used to further address this scientific issue.

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Danyang Wang, Jun-Ichi Yano, and Yanluan Lin

Abstract

The vorticity variability associated with the Madden–Julian oscillation (MJO) is examined. The analysis is focused on the 150-hPa pressure level, because a clear dipolar-vortex signal, reminiscent of the theoretically proposed strongly nonlinear solitary Rossby wave solution (albeit with the opposite sign), is seen in raw data at that level. A local empirical orthogonal function (EOF) analysis over the equatorial region of the Eastern Hemisphere (0°–180°E) identifies the two principal components representing an eastward propagation of a dipolar vortex trapped to the equator. Association of this propagation structure with the moist convective variability of the MJO is demonstrated by regressing the outgoing longwave radiation (OLR) against this EOF pair. The obtained evolution of the OLR field is similar to the one obtained by a direct application of the EOF to the OLR. A link of the local vorticity variability associated with the MJO to the global dynamics is further investigated by regressing the global vorticity field against the time series of the identified local EOF pair. The Rossby wave trains tend to propagate toward the Indian Ocean from higher latitudes, just prior to an initiation of the MJO, and in turn, they propagate back toward the higher latitudes from the MJO active region over the Indian Ocean. A three-dimensional regression reveals an equivalent barotropic structure of the MJO vortex pair with the signs opposite to those at 150 hPa underneath. A vertical normal mode analysis finds that this vertical structure is dominated by the equivalent height of about 10 km.

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Daniel R. Chavas, Ning Lin, Wenhao Dong, and Yanluan Lin

Abstract

This work revisits the statistics of observed tropical cyclone outer size in the context of recent advances in our theoretical understanding of the storm wind field. The authors create a new dataset of the radius of 12 m s−1 winds based on a recently updated version of the QuikSCAT ocean wind vector database and apply an improved analytical outer wind model to estimate the outer radius of vanishing wind. The dataset is then applied to analyze the statistical distributions of the two size metrics as well as their dependence on environmental parameters, with a specific focus on testing recently identified parameters possessing credible theoretical relationships with tropical cyclone size. The ratio of the potential intensity to the Coriolis parameter is found to perform poorly in explaining variation of size, with the possible exception of its upper bound, the latter of which is in line with existing theory. The rotating radiative–convective equilibrium scaling of Khairoutdinov and Emanuel is also found to perform poorly. Meanwhile, mean storm size is found to increase systematically with the relative sea surface temperature, in quantitative agreement with the results of a recent study of storm size based on precipitation area. Implications of these results are discussed in the context of existing tropical climate theory. Finally, an empirical dependence of the central pressure deficit on outer size is found in line with past work.

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Yanluan Lin, Brian A. Colle, and Sandra E. Yuter

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Two cool seasons (November–March) of daily simulations using the fifth-generation Pennsylvania State University–NCAR Mesoscale Model (MM5) over the Pacific Northwest are used to investigate orographic precipitation bias. Model simulations are compared with data from a radiosonde site at Salem, Oregon, just upstream (west) of the Oregon Cascades; precipitation gauges over a portion of the Pacific Northwest; and a National Weather Service Weather Surveillance Radar-1988 Doppler (WSR-88D) in Portland, Oregon. The 77 storms analyzed are partitioned into warm/cold storms based on the freezing level above/below the Oregon Cascades crest (~1600 m MSL). Although the seasonal precipitation is well simulated, the model has a tendency to overpredict surface precipitation for cold storms. The correlation between the upstream relative humidity–weighted integrated moisture transport and precipitation for warm storms (r 2 = 0.81) is higher than that for cold storms (r 2 = 0.54). Comparisons of model ice water content (IWC) and derived reflectivity with radar-retrieved IWC and observed reflectivity for the 38 well-simulated storms show reasonably good agreement for warm storms but an overprediction of IWC and reflectivity aloft for cold storms. One plausible reason for the persistent overprediction of IWC in cold storms might be related to the positive bias in snow depositional growth formulation in the model bulk microphysics parameterization. A favorable overlap of the maximum snow depositional growth region with the mountain wave ascent region in cold storms magnifies the bias and likely contributes to the precipitation overprediction. This study also highlights the benefit of using data aloft from an operational radar to complement surface precipitation gauges for model precipitation evaluation over mountainous terrain.

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