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Roles of Barotropic Instability across the Moat in Inner Eyewall Decay and Outer Eyewall Intensification: Three-Dimensional Numerical Experiments

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  • 1 Department of Atmospheric and Oceanic Sciences, McGill University, Montreal, Quebec, Canada
  • 2 National Center for Atmospheric Research, Boulder, Colorado
  • 3 Environment and Climate Change Canada, Dorval, Quebec, Canada
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Abstract

Radar imagery of some double-eyewall tropical cyclones shows that the inner eyewalls became elliptical prior to their dissipation during the eyewall replacement cycles, indicating that the barotropic instability (BI) across the moat (also known as type-2 BI) may play a role. To further examine the physics of inner eyewall decay and outer eyewall intensification under the influence of the type-2 instability, three-dimensional numerical experiments are performed. In the moist full-physics run, the simulated vortex exhibits the type-2 instability and the associated azimuthal wavenumber-2 radial flow pattern. The absolute angular momentum (AAM) budget calculation indicates, after the excitation of the type-2 instability, a significant intensification in the negative radial advection of AAM at the inner eyewall. It is further shown that the changes in radial AAM advection largely result from the eddy processes associated with the type-2 instability and contribute significantly to the inner eyewall decay. The budget calculation also suggests that the type-2 instability can accelerate the inner eyewall decay in concert with the boundary layer cutoff effect. Another dry no-physics idealized experiment is conducted and the result shows that the type-2 instability alone is able to weaken the inner eyewall and also strengthen the outer eyewall with nonnegligible effect.

© 2021 American Meteorological Society. For information regarding reuse of this content and general copyright information, consult the AMS Copyright Policy (www.ametsoc.org/PUBSReuseLicenses).

Corresponding author: Tsz-Kin Lai, eric.lai@mail.mcgill.ca

Abstract

Radar imagery of some double-eyewall tropical cyclones shows that the inner eyewalls became elliptical prior to their dissipation during the eyewall replacement cycles, indicating that the barotropic instability (BI) across the moat (also known as type-2 BI) may play a role. To further examine the physics of inner eyewall decay and outer eyewall intensification under the influence of the type-2 instability, three-dimensional numerical experiments are performed. In the moist full-physics run, the simulated vortex exhibits the type-2 instability and the associated azimuthal wavenumber-2 radial flow pattern. The absolute angular momentum (AAM) budget calculation indicates, after the excitation of the type-2 instability, a significant intensification in the negative radial advection of AAM at the inner eyewall. It is further shown that the changes in radial AAM advection largely result from the eddy processes associated with the type-2 instability and contribute significantly to the inner eyewall decay. The budget calculation also suggests that the type-2 instability can accelerate the inner eyewall decay in concert with the boundary layer cutoff effect. Another dry no-physics idealized experiment is conducted and the result shows that the type-2 instability alone is able to weaken the inner eyewall and also strengthen the outer eyewall with nonnegligible effect.

© 2021 American Meteorological Society. For information regarding reuse of this content and general copyright information, consult the AMS Copyright Policy (www.ametsoc.org/PUBSReuseLicenses).

Corresponding author: Tsz-Kin Lai, eric.lai@mail.mcgill.ca
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