Observations of Record Cold Cloud-Top Temperatures in Tropical Cyclone Hilda (1990)

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  • 1 Bureau of Meteorology Research Centre, Melbourne, Australia
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Abstract

A detailed analysis is made of the development of a region of cold cloud-top temperatures in Tropical Cyclone Hilda (1990) in the Coral Sea off eastern Australia. Observed temperatures of approximately 173 K (−100°C) from two independent satellite sources indicate that the convective turrets penetrated well into the stratosphere to an estimated height of around 19.2 km.

The analytical parcel model of Schlesinger is used, together with available observations from the cyclone vicinity, to estimate the convective updrafts required to produce the observed stratosphere penetration. Under realistic assumptions of entrainment and hydrometeor drag, an updraft speed of between 15 and 38 m s−1 at tropopause level is required to provide the observed stratospheric penetration. Independent calculations using observed anvil expansion and environmental CAPE (convective available potential energy) support these updraft findings.

Abstract

A detailed analysis is made of the development of a region of cold cloud-top temperatures in Tropical Cyclone Hilda (1990) in the Coral Sea off eastern Australia. Observed temperatures of approximately 173 K (−100°C) from two independent satellite sources indicate that the convective turrets penetrated well into the stratosphere to an estimated height of around 19.2 km.

The analytical parcel model of Schlesinger is used, together with available observations from the cyclone vicinity, to estimate the convective updrafts required to produce the observed stratosphere penetration. Under realistic assumptions of entrainment and hydrometeor drag, an updraft speed of between 15 and 38 m s−1 at tropopause level is required to provide the observed stratospheric penetration. Independent calculations using observed anvil expansion and environmental CAPE (convective available potential energy) support these updraft findings.

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