Interactions between Simulated Tropical Cyclones and an Environment with a Variable Coriolis Parameter

Elizabeth A. Ritchie Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering, University of New Mexico, Albuquerque, New Mexico

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William M. Frank Department of Meteorology, The Pennsylvania State University, University Park, Pennsylvania

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Abstract

Numerical simulations of tropical cyclones are performed to examine the effects of a variable Coriolis parameter on the structure and intensity of hurricanes. The simulations are performed using the nonhydrostatic fifth-generation Pennsylvania State University–National Center for Atmospheric Research Mesoscale Model using a 5-km fine mesh and fully explicit representation of moist processes. When a variable Conolis parameter ( f ) environment is applied to a mature tropical cyclone, a persistent north-northwesterly shear develops over the storm center as a result of an interaction between the primary circulation of the storm and the gradient in absolute vorticity. As a result, the variable-f storm quickly develops a persistent wavenumber-1 asymmetry in its inner-core structure with upward motion and rainfall concentrated on the left side of the shear looking downshear, in agreement with earlier studies. In comparison, the constant-f storm develops weak transient asymmetries in structure that are only partially related to a weak vertical wind shear. As a result, it is found that the tropical cyclone with variable f intensifies slightly more slowly than that with constant f, and reaches a final intensity that is about 5 mb weaker. It is argued that this “beta shear” is not adequately represented in large-scale analyses and so does not figure into calculations of environmental shear. Although the effect of the beta shear on the tropical cyclone intensity seems small by itself, when combined with the environmental shear it can produce a large net shear or it can reduce an environmental shear below the apparent threshold to impact storm intensity. If this result proves to be generally true, then the presence of an additional overlooked beta shear may well explain differences in the response of tropical cyclone intensification to westerly versus easterly shear regimes.

Corresponding author address: Elizabeth Ritchie, Dept. of Atmospheric Sciences, The University of Arizona, P.O. Box 210081, Tucson, AZ 85721-0081. Email: ritchie@jet.atmo.arizona.edu

Abstract

Numerical simulations of tropical cyclones are performed to examine the effects of a variable Coriolis parameter on the structure and intensity of hurricanes. The simulations are performed using the nonhydrostatic fifth-generation Pennsylvania State University–National Center for Atmospheric Research Mesoscale Model using a 5-km fine mesh and fully explicit representation of moist processes. When a variable Conolis parameter ( f ) environment is applied to a mature tropical cyclone, a persistent north-northwesterly shear develops over the storm center as a result of an interaction between the primary circulation of the storm and the gradient in absolute vorticity. As a result, the variable-f storm quickly develops a persistent wavenumber-1 asymmetry in its inner-core structure with upward motion and rainfall concentrated on the left side of the shear looking downshear, in agreement with earlier studies. In comparison, the constant-f storm develops weak transient asymmetries in structure that are only partially related to a weak vertical wind shear. As a result, it is found that the tropical cyclone with variable f intensifies slightly more slowly than that with constant f, and reaches a final intensity that is about 5 mb weaker. It is argued that this “beta shear” is not adequately represented in large-scale analyses and so does not figure into calculations of environmental shear. Although the effect of the beta shear on the tropical cyclone intensity seems small by itself, when combined with the environmental shear it can produce a large net shear or it can reduce an environmental shear below the apparent threshold to impact storm intensity. If this result proves to be generally true, then the presence of an additional overlooked beta shear may well explain differences in the response of tropical cyclone intensification to westerly versus easterly shear regimes.

Corresponding author address: Elizabeth Ritchie, Dept. of Atmospheric Sciences, The University of Arizona, P.O. Box 210081, Tucson, AZ 85721-0081. Email: ritchie@jet.atmo.arizona.edu

1. Introduction

Vertical wind shear has strong effects on both the structure and intensity of a tropical cyclone. Since the early 1960s when researchers first began to measure the tropical cyclone environment, it has been known that large amounts of vertical shear inhibit tropical cyclone intensification while low values of shear favor both the genesis and intensification of tropical cyclones (Gray 1975). It has also been shown numerically that in the Atlantic Ocean easterly shear favors tropical cyclone development and westerly shear inhibits it (Tuleya and Kurihara 1981).

Recent modeling studies have helped to understand why it is that tropical cyclones weaken under strong shear. These studies (e.g., Jones 1995; DeMaria 1996; Bender 1997; Frank and Ritchie 1999, 2001) have shown that the interactions between the tropical cyclone and the vertically sheared environment result in a tilt in the tropical cyclone core. To maintain balance in this tilted structure, a persistent wavenumber-1 asymmetry in the vertical motion field develops, which in turn modulates convection. The strongest convection occurs in the downshear-left sector of the storm (see Frank and Ritchie 2001, their Fig. 9). Frank and Ritchie (2001) relate the weakening of the tropical cyclone under shear to a disruption in the tropical cyclone structure by 1) the advection of the upper-level structure of the tropical cyclone (where inertial stability is small) downstream, 2) the effect of less optimal eye warming forced by asymmetrically organized convection, and 3) outward mixing of moist static energy from the eye and eyewall by transient eddies in the upper levels. While these results are similar to observational studies of tropical cyclones in shear (e.g., Black et al. 2002; Corbosiero and Molinari 2002; Halverson et al. 2006), the numerical studies listed above (other than Bender 1997) were limited to studies of tropical cyclones in unidirectional shear on a constant-f plane.

In an environment with a variable Coriolis parameter, an additional vertical wind shear may exist over the tropical cyclone center due to the so-called beta gyres. These gyres are produced by advection of planetary vorticity by the storm circulation causing a region of anomalously low vorticity to develop northeast of the cyclone center and a positive anomaly to develop southwest of the cyclone center (e.g., Chan and Williams 1987; Fiorino and Elsberry 1989; Carr and Williams 1989). These gyres give the tropical cyclone a general propagation vector to the northwest (southwest) in the Northern (Southern) Hemisphere (e.g., Fiorino and Elsberry 1989). They also may give rise to vertical wind shear over the core of the tropical cyclone because of the variation of height of the primary circulation from the cyclonic in the low levels to the anticyclonic aloft (Frank and Ritchie 2002). In the case of a tropical cyclone, the interaction with the planetary vorticity gradient will differ at different heights in the atmosphere resulting in a vertical wind shear across the tropical cyclone center. If this “beta shear” does exist and proves to be important in modulating the structure of the tropical cyclone, then it may explain why simulations imposing large-scale easterly or westerly shear over a tropical cyclone result in differences between simulations performed using a constant Coriolis parameter ( f ) and those that use variable f. For example, Bender (1997) simulated the effects of simple vertical wind shear on a tropical cyclone with variable f. Although his overall results were similar to Frank and Ritchie (1999), the addition of variable f resulted in the development of a low-level jet through the core of the tropical cyclone apparently due to interactions between the storm circulation and the environmental gradient of absolute vorticity. Such a jet would be likely to produce significant effects on the storm, including the continued development of deep convection in the core. In general, the convection appeared to favor the side to the left of the shear vector, though the maximum accumulated rainfall tended to occur on the upshear side of the storm, probably because the slow fall speeds of hydrometeors allow them to be advected around the tropical cyclone circulation before they reach the ground.

Here, the idealized simulations of Frank and Ritchie (2001) are extended to include the effects of variable f as a first step toward more realistically representing the structure of vertical wind shear that is routinely observed in the tropical atmosphere. In particular, in order to understand why there might be an east–west directional bias for favorable tropical cyclone genesis conditions, it is important to understand the first-order effects of the gradient in planetary vorticity on tropical cyclone structure and intensity. A companion paper will examine the effects of imposed large-scale vertical wind shear on a tropical cyclone simulated with variable f.

Section 2 outlines the methodology used to set up the initial conditions for two simulations presented in this paper. Results of the simulations are presented in section 3 along with observational evidence that supports our findings. A summary and discussion are presented in section 4.

2. Methodology

Two numerical simulations are performed that simulate the effects of planetary vorticity on a mature tropical cyclone. The model is version 5.3 of the fifth-generation Pennsylvania State University–National Center for Atmospheric Research (PSU–NCAR) Mesoscale Model (MM5), and its configuration is similar to that described in Frank and Ritchie (2001) except that the variation in the Coriolis parameter is allowed in one of the simulations. In the previous papers a constant-f plane was used to prevent the complications arising from interactions between the storm flow and the planetary meridional absolute vorticity gradient, thereby helping to isolate the direct effects of simple vertical wind shear on the storm’s core. However, the interactions between the tropical cyclone circulation and planetary vorticity are likely to be important in nature since the induced circulation features and resulting shear over the tropical cyclone may vary significantly with the size and intensity of the storm. As the degree of realism in the model is increased, these effects can no longer be ignored.

For both the simulations all domains are square. The outer domain is 5400 km in each dimension with a 45-km mesh, the 15-km middle mesh has a dimension of 2115 × 2115 km, and the finest mesh is moveable with a 5-km resolution and is 700 km in each direction. There are 23 vertical sigma levels. The model top is 50 mb, and a radiative boundary condition is used at the top of the model. Boundary layer processes are determined from the Burk–Thompson (Burk and Thompson 1989) parameterization. Convective processes are represented by the Goddard explicit moisture scheme (Tao and Simpson 1993), which includes mixed-phase ice processes. No nonresolving cumulus parameterization or radiative schemes are employed. Simulations have been performed with and without interactive radiation, but for the types of runs described here, it is preferable to avoid radiative processes in order to retard the growth of convection on the outer grid meshes. Since the domain size is quite large, very little mean stabilization occurs.

Similar to Frank and Ritchie (2001), the sea surface temperature (SST) is fixed at a uniform value of 28.5°C. The initial thermodynamic sounding is taken from the prestorm cloud cluster composite of McBride and Zehr (1981), which was determined from rawinsonde data in the western North Pacific. The simulations are initialized with a baroclinic vortex (not shown) that is axisymmetric with maximum winds of 15 m s−1 at a radius of 135 km—equivalent to a strong tropical depression. This is the same initial vortex that was used in Frank and Ritchie (2001). There is a broad anticyclone aloft, and the fields are in gradient balance. At the time of initialization there are no large-scale winds in the domain. For consistency with Frank and Ritchie (2001) the vortices are spun up for 48 h until the cloud processes are fully developed, one using constant f and one using variable f. This is so that the results may be better compared with companion papers that contain simulations with imposed vertical shear. Here, the end of the spinup time is called t = 0, and the runs are continued for a further 72 h until an approximate steady state is observed. At t = 0 both storms have central pressures of about 970 mb.

3. Development of a tropical cyclone using constant f versus variable f

a. Evolution of the tropical cyclone intensity

Central pressure is felt to be a more stable indicator of the intensity than the local wind speed maximum, which is quite noisy, and so the discussions emphasize changes in that pressure. The five-point running mean of maximum surface wind speed matches the trends in pressure change very closely (not shown). The pressure traces begin at 0 h (Fig. 1a), and there is little difference in the evolution of the tropical cyclone intensity between the two simulations. Both simulations evolve steadily, with short periods of more intense development, particularly for the variable-f simulation. The constant-f simulation briefly reaches a minimum intensity of 901 mb at about 58 h of simulation and then oscillates between 901 and 905 mb until the end of the simulation. The variable-f simulation intensifies a little more slowly, reaches a minimum pressure of about 906 mb by 60 h, and approximately maintains that until 72 h. The difference in minimum pressure between the two simulations is never more than 10 mb throughout the 72 h of simulation. Thus, one conclusion is that although there is clearly some difference in the evolution of the two cases, the effect on the intensity of the tropical cyclone is very small. In the following sections, the constant-f tropical cyclone (CFTC) and the variable-f tropical cyclone (VFTC) will be discussed.

b. Evolution of the wind and potential vorticity fields

As would be expected from the minimum sea level pressure traces, both simulated tropical cyclones undergo a fairly steady evolution of their wind and vorticity fields. Figure 2 shows the evolution of the azimuthally averaged winds for both simulations. For the CFTC case, the 0-, 24-, 48-, and 72-h maximum 850-mb winds are 37, 78, 87, and 85 m s−1 at radii of 80, 41, 37, and 31 km, respectively. In contrast, for the VFTC case, the 0-, 24-, 48-, and 72-h maximum 900-mb winds are 38, 65, 74, and 82 m s−1 at radii of 75, 52, 33, and 37 km, respectively. Thus, although the CFTC winds initially increase more rapidly than the VFTC, similar to the development of the minimum sea level pressure, by 48 h, both tropical cyclones are of similar strength in terms of their averaged wind field. The greatest radius of maximum winds (RMW) contraction in the constant-f simulation actually occurs in the middle levels of the tropical cyclone as shown in Figs. 2a–c. There, it can be seen that a contraction of the RMW occurs between 48 and 72 h. A sample value is the 56–38-km radius at 500 mb. In contrast, the RMW contraction in the variable-f simulation occurs mostly between 24 and 48 h at all levels. Subsequent to this, the structure of the tropical cyclone becomes very asymmetric and the radius of maximum winds determined from the actual wind field expands, and is quite different between quadrants of the tropical cyclone (not shown).

Figure 3 shows south–north and west–east cross sections of the tropical cyclones at 48 h of simulation. The most striking difference between the two simulations is the asymmetric structure of the wind field of the VFTC (Figs. 3a,b) compared with the CFTC (Figs. 3c,d). In particular, the winds on the west and south sides of the VFTC are much weaker than on the east and north sides. Some of this asymmetry is explained by the motion of the VFTC, which is about 2.7 m s−1 to the north-northeast at this time. In comparison, the motion of the CFTC is almost zero throughout the simulation. In addition, the overall size of the region of maximum winds is much greater for the CFTC than for the VFTC. For example, the region of winds greater than 48 m s−1 has been highlighted in Fig. 3. This area is clearly greater in extent for the CFTC and more symmetrically structured when compared with the VFTC.

Figure 3b reveals a weak low-level, secondary wind maximum about 150 km to the south of the VFTC center with fairly strong vertical motion highlighted by the black arrow. This feature is associated with a rainband (Fig. 8e) extending from the southeast eyewall to the south and then west of the center of the VFTC. This rainband is discussed in some detail in the next section as it is a significant contributor to the overall rainfall distribution of the VFTC.

Examination of the midlevel potential vorticity (PV) fields indicates that each simulation undergoes an episode of mixing of eyewall PV into the eye at a time when the tropical cyclone has just undergone a rapid intensification cycle, such as those described by Schubert et al. (1999) and Kossin and Eastin (2001). For the CFTC, the episode occurs very rapidly between 59 and 60 h of simulation, which is at the end of a rapid intensification cycle (Fig. 1) that takes the cyclone to its lowest sea level pressure of the entire simulation (901 mb). For the VFTC the episode occurs between about 57 and 61 h. Figure 4 shows a sequence of the episode for the CFTC. At 58 h of simulation the 700-mb PV is maximum in the eyewall. Thus, there is a sign reversal of the radial PV gradient across the eyewall—a sufficient condition for barotropic instability. During the course of the 4-h period the maximum PV anomalies rotate in the eyewall and then rapidly mix into the eye, forming a bull’s-eye of high PV air. However, a representative radial profile of the wind speed at 500 mb (Fig. 5) does not show the inward momentum mixing as described by Schubert et al. (1999) or Kossin and Eastin (2001). To the contrary, Fig. 5 indicates an increase in wind speed at the RMW. The 700- and 850-mb levels exhibit similar behavior (not shown). We hypothesize at this point that the 5-km resolution of the grids shown in this paper may not adequately capture the processes described in the above two papers. Knaff et al. (2003) suggested that their annular hurricanes attained their axisymmetric structure after episodes of inward eyewall mixing. Examination of the two simulations reveals an interesting phenomenon. The eyewall-to-eye mixing does not seem to impact the structure of the CFTC, at least as observed in the rainfall patterns. This is not surprising as this tropical cyclone remains very axisymmetric the entire simulation. However, for a brief period of about 4 h (from 61–65 h) following the mixing episode, the VFTC attains a more axisymmetric structure as observed in 1-h rainfall patterns (Fig. 6). Although the axisymmetric structure is also observed in 3-h precipitation differences, the 1-h differences are used in order to remove the motion aliasing. Analysis using a fine 1.67-km mesh is left to a future study.

c. Evolution of the precipitation patterns

The area-averaged precipitation is calculated every 6 h on a circle centered on the tropical cyclone minimum sea level pressure. The 15-km resolution (domain 2) gridded data are interpolated to a cylindrical grid with 90 azimuthal points and a radial resolution of 5 km. Figure 7 shows a time trace of the area-averaged precipitation for both the variable-f and constant-f simulations for circles of radius 100 and 300 km. Figure 8 shows the evolution of the 6-h rainfall pattern for the constant-f and variable-f simulations, respectively. The 100- and 300-km radius averaging areas are indicated in Figs. 8a,d.

The overall amount of precipitation is fairly steady throughout both simulations, and the quantity of rainfall within 300 km is very similar (Fig. 7). However, slight differences indicate that the variable-f simulation has a tendency for more rain farther from the center than the constant-f simulation, which has the majority of its precipitation contained within 100 km of the center of the tropical cyclone in an intense, axisymmetric eyewall throughout the simulation (Figs. 8a–c). Although the VFTC simulation also has a majority of its precipitation located within the eyewall, the eyewall precipitation is very asymmetric with a maximum in the east-southeast quadrant at early times (Fig. 8d) and shifting to the east-northeast quadrant at later times (Figs. 8e,f). In addition, some precipitation is in a rainband located in the 100–300-km annulus to the east of the center of the tropical cyclone at 24 h (Fig. 8d) and located to the south of the tropical cyclone at later times (Figs. 8e,f). This is highlighted in Fig. 7, which shows the overall precipitation calculated within 300 km of the tropical cyclone center for the VFTC to be slightly higher than that for the CFTC after 24 h of simulation even though the constant-f precipitation is considerably higher than the variable f within 100 km of the tropical cyclone center.

There is an apparent correlation between a decrease in the total amount of precipitation in the eyewall (Fig. 7) and a decrease in the rate of intensification (Fig. 1). This is particularly obvious in the VFTC simulation between 6 and 18, 36 and 48, and 54 and 66 h of simulation. The two latter time periods in the VFTC simulation correspond to two periods during which vertical wind shear (calculated as the difference in the average 200- and 850-mb winds) is above 9 m s−1. This will be discussed in more detail in the next section. In addition, the period 54–72 h corresponds to a time when the TC is closest to its maximum potential intensity of 883 mb calculated based on a mean sounding and SST (Emanuel 1988), which is most likely why the TC remains at a steady-state intensity at this time.

In the case of the constant-f simulation, a brief lessening of the rate of intensification between 6 and 18 h also corresponds to a drop in the total precipitation. Otherwise, the constant-f simulation divides into two longer time-scale episodes, one from 6 to 40 h, when the rate of intensification is highest, and the amount of eyewall precipitation reaches a peak (Fig. 7), and the other, from 40 to 72 h when the rate of intensification is slightly less, and the amount of eyewall precipitation decreases (Fig. 7).

d. Evolution of the large-scale vertical wind shear

It is our main thesis that most of the differences between the evolution of the tropical cyclone using constant f and that using variable f are due to differences in the large-scale vertical wind shear that are generated by the interaction between the tropical cyclone circulation and its environment. In these simulations the only variation in the TC environment is that contributed by the earth’s vorticity gradient. There is no imposed synoptic-scale flow. To investigate this effect, the average environmental wind is calculated every 50 mb for 150-, 300-, 450-, and 600-km-radius circles centered on the tropical cyclone minimum sea level pressure. Similar to the calculation for precipitation in the previous section, the 15-km-resolution gridded data are interpolated to a cylindrical grid with 90 azimuthal points and a radial resolution of 5 km. The calculations for the 300-km-radius circle are presented here, since the average motion vector for that area best represents the actual motion of the simulated storms. Similar to accepted practice, the vertical wind shear is calculated as the difference between the averaged winds at 200 and 850 mb.

1) Constant-f simulation

Figure 9a shows a representative plot of the average environmental wind, the 200–850-mb mean layer motion vector, and the shear vector calculated from 200 to 850 mb for the constant-f simulation. Because there is little difference between the instantaneous calculation and the 6-h-average shear, the instantaneous vertical wind shear is presented. The calculated 850–200-mb mean motion vector is nearly zero throughout the simulation, similar to the actual motion of the simulated tropical cyclone (Fig. 9b). The average winds vary only very slightly through the simulation up to a height of about 400 mb (Fig. 9a). Above this, the average winds swing from southwesterly to northeasterly at various times, presumably because the anticyclonic outflow is less stable in structure than the cyclonic flow below due to migration of the upper-level rotational center (e.g., Wong and Chan 2004).

Figure 10 shows the asymmetric component of the wind and associated relative vorticity at 200 mb every 24 h for the constant-f simulation. There is considerable variation in the asymmetric component of the flow over the tropical cyclone center. In fact, there is also considerable variation in the symmetric component of the flow at 200 mb (not shown). This results in variable 200–850-mb shear over the tropical cyclone throughout the simulation, even though the flow below 400 mb is very stable. Values of the shear range from 1 to 4 m s−1 (Fig. 11a), with a direction that swings over all points of the compass (Fig. 11b).

If we plot hourly rainfall for the duration of the constant-f simulation (e.g., Fig. 12) a clear trend develops. When the magnitude of the shear exceeds about 2.7 m s−1 then a wavenumber-1 asymmetry develops in the rainfall pattern (Figs. 12a,b). In general, the asymmetry is oriented between 30° and 60° to the left (clockwise) of the direction the shear vector is pointing from (e.g., Fig. 11b). This locates the asymmetry in the downshear left half of the tropical cyclone, approximately where an asymmetry would be expected if it was forced by the vertical wind shear (Frank and Ritchie 2001; Black et al. 2002). This asymmetry develops in spite of the constant reorientation of the direction of the shear vector that occurs throughout the constant-f simulation. Because the asymmetry is constantly shifting with the shear direction, a longer calculation of rainfall (e.g., 6 hourly) smears out the asymmetry and produces a more uniform band of rainfall around the eye as shown in the sequence in Figs. 8a–c.

When the shear magnitude is less than about 2.5 m s−1, asymmetries are sometimes observed, but not in a location that is expected from the shear direction (e.g., Fig. 12c). More often, the hourly rainfall structure is characterized by multiple asymmetries (e.g., Fig. 12d) or a more uniform ring about the eye at these times. From these results we propose that a shear magnitude of at least 2.7 m s−1 calculated from 200 to 850 mb is required to force a corresponding persistent asymmetry in the cloud and rainfall pattern. From the pressure trace in Fig. 1, we also tentatively conclude that even such short-term, weak asymmetries, if persistently forming, may have an impact on the intensification of the tropical cyclone. Note that the 42–66-h period of simulation is characterized by a slower intensification rate than the first 42 h (Fig. 1). This period is also characterized by persistent wavenumber-1 asymmetries in the rainfall pattern (indicated by triangles in Fig. 11a), which do not show up in the longer 6-hourly plots of Figs. 8b,c. If we relate the rainfall pattern to stronger convection, then this persistent asymmetric forcing (e.g., Fig. 12d) may well have affected the rate at which the tropical cyclone intensified during this period in contrast to a persistent uniformity of the forcing. Thus, even weak values of vertical wind shear may force convective asymmetries that impact the intensification rate of a TC. However, the effect appears to be minimal.

2) Variable-f simulation

Similar to the constant-f case, the calculated 850–200-mb mean motion vector from 0- to 300-km radius is almost the same as the actual motion of the simulated variable-f tropical cyclone throughout the simulation (Fig. 13a). The direction of motion is to the north-northwest as would be expected for a tropical cyclone that develops beta gyres (e.g., Chan and Williams 1987), and the speed of motion reaches approximately 4 m s−1 by the end of the simulation. As expected, there is considerably more structure in the averaged vertical winds when compared to the constant-f simulation (Figs. 13b and 9a) because of the tropical cyclone interaction with the planetary vorticity gradient. A maximum in the averaged winds occurs near 850 mb similar to the jet reported by Bender (1997) for his simulations. The averaged winds weaken with increasing height, until at about 400 mb; in the case of Figs. 13b,c, they are essentially zero. Above 400 mb, the tropical cyclone winds turn anticyclonic and the interaction with the planetary vorticity gradient results in weak beta gyres of the opposite sense to those below.

The easiest way to observe this effect is to examine a simulation of a tropical cyclone interacting with variable f in which all moist processes are switched off. Figure 14 shows the asymmetric winds and vorticity at four different levels in the atmosphere at 48 h into a dry simulation of a tropical cyclone with variable f. The domains presented are 1200 km × 1200 km. The beta gyres at each level can be observed in the asymmetric wind field, centered between about 450 and 550 km from the TC center and labeled with a “B.” It can be seen that the location of the beta gyres relative to the center of the TC varies with height, both radially, and azimuthally. This is a reflection of the strength and radial extent of the tropical cyclone circulation that is interacting with the planetary vorticity gradient. A result of this changing gyre structure with height is variability of the asymmetric flow with height over the tropical cyclone center, also seen in Fig. 14. This variable asymmetric flow contributes both to the motion of the tropical cyclone and to the shear over the tropical cyclone. Thus, although there is no “imposed” large-scale shear over the tropical cyclone in the variable-f case, the vertical structure in the tropical cyclone circulation results in the development of vertical wind shear over the tropical cyclone as shown in Fig. 13b.

In addition, the averaged winds evolve throughout the moist variable-f simulation (cf. Figs. 13b,c) because the strength of the environmental flow changes with the strength of the tropical cyclone circulation (i.e., as the tropical cyclone intensity increases through the simulation, so do the beta gyres). Below 400 mb, the vertical profile of the averaged winds remains fairly constant, but the maximum value of the jet near 850 mb gradually increases with time (Figs. 13b,c) as the tropical cyclone intensifies. In contrast, there appears to be considerable variation with time in the averaged winds above 400 mb in the outflow layer in Fig. 13, presumably because the anticyclonic outflow is less stable in structure than the cyclonic flow below. Similar to Wong and Chan (2004) we find that this variability in the upper levels of the tropical cyclone (and thus in the calculated vertical wind shear) is much less if we average over an outer annulus such as 300–600 km (not shown). However, the vertical wind shear calculated over the inner 300-km radius appears to correlate more closely with fluctuations in intensification of the tropical cyclone and so we feel this is a better estimate to use in practice.

At the start of the variable-f simulation, the calculated wind shear magnitude is about 7 m s−1. It gradually intensifies reaching a peak value at 40 h of 12 m s−1 and maintaining a shear of more than 10 m s−1 from 36 h until 41 h before gradually relaxing back to 4.5 m s−1 at 72 h of simulation (Fig. 15a). Note that this apparently weak value of shear at 72 h of simulation corresponds to the time of the strongest 850-mb jet (Fig. 13c). However, because of the variability of the averaged wind structure above 400 mb, much of the strong shear from 850 to 400 mb is cancelled out. This may be an artifact of the way vertical wind shear is generally defined. If we ignore the outflow layer and calculate the shear between 300 and 850 mb, we find a slightly improved correlation between the shear magnitude and intensity trends (not shown). However, the improvement is not substantial enough to draw any definite conclusions on this point.

The brief period of shear greater than 10 m s−1 (200–850 mb) is associated with a brief period of nonintensification of the tropical cyclone, which lags the shear onset by about 6 h (Fig. 1). The direction of the shear is generally to the south-southeast or southeast (Fig. 15b), which is consistent with the downshear-left location of the rainfall asymmetry in Fig. 8d. Although the magnitude of the shear changes quite substantially between 24 and 72 h of simulation, the strength of the 850-mb jet changes very little. As stated earlier, it is the upper levels of the tropical cyclone that change significantly, changing the value of shear over the tropical cyclone.

e. Some implications of the variable-f vertical wind shear

Figure 14 shows the asymmetric component of the flow over the variable-f simulation at 48 h for 850, 700, 500, and 200 mb. It can be seen that the strongest part of the flow is right over the tropical cyclone center. Farther out from the center the asymmetric flow is still present, but is much weaker. Thus, the best estimate of the vertical wind shear associated with the beta gyres is that which includes the inner portion of the tropical cyclone. In this study, we used the inner 300 km because that was the area that also provided the best steering vector match to the actual simulated tropical cyclone motion. There are two issues when doing this calculation with standard large-scale analyses. Figure 16a shows the asymmetric component of the 500-mb wind field at 48 h and 15-km resolution, and Fig. 16b shows the same field degraded to 180-km resolution. From Fig. 16b it can be seen that even if perfect gridpoint observations were available at this resolution, they would barely resolve the asymmetric flow over the TC center due to the beta gyres. A second issue is the practice of bogusing a vortex into the large-scale analyses based on an intensity estimate and radius of gale-force winds. Very few operational centers include a bogus in their global models. However, some regional models do include a bogus that may include an asymmetric component of wind to match initial motion of the tropical cyclone, but they may not include a vertical structure to the motion that will match the beta gyre shear. Thus, large-scale analysis fields will most likely represent the basic flow patterns of the environment, but it is unlikely that they will adequately represent the beta shear discussed here.

The vertical wind shear calculated over the inner 300-km radius of the tropical cyclone becomes quite strong (>8 m s−1) for a portion of the simulation before relaxing back to about 5 m s−1 by 72 h of simulation. We speculate that the very high values of vertical wind shear during the middle portion of the simulation may be due to some instability in the outflow layer of the modeled tropical cyclone, and are unrealistically high. A magnitude of 5–6 m s−1 is probably more realistic. The direction of shear is consistently to the south-southeast or southeast indicating a small bias in zonal direction that may well help to explain why there might be an east–west directional bias for favorable tropical cyclone genesis–intensification conditions (e.g., Tuleya and Kurihara 1981; Frank and Ritchie 2002). That is, a 10 m s−1 large-scale easterly shear vector will add to a northeast beta shear vector of 8 m s−1 for a resultant north-northeasterly shear vector over the TC of 7.1 m s−1. In contrast, a 10 m s−1 westerly shear vector will add to a northeast beta shear vector of 8 m s−1 for a resultant west-northwesterly shear vector over the TC of 16.7 m s−1 as demonstrated in Fig. 17. Much smaller amounts of environmental shear also result in large differences in the effective vertical wind shear influencing the tropical cyclone depending on whether they are easterly or westerly (e.g., Table 1). The implications of 1) the magnitude and direction of the beta shear, and 2) the likelihood that large-scale analyses do not adequately capture this effect, are that, all other effects aside, the effective shear over a tropical cyclone will be much smaller in easterly shear environments than westerly shear environments for the same measured magnitude of environmental shear. Thus, a preference for intensification under easterly shear rather than westerly shear of the same magnitude will be apparent (Frank and Ritchie 2002).

4. Summary and discussion

Two simulations of a tropical cyclone are compared in order to better understand the resulting differences in structure and intensity due to in situ shear that develops in a variable-f environment compared with a constant-f environment. Intensity is tracked through the minimum sea level pressure rather than through the strongest surface winds. The intensity differences between the two simulations are small. The tropical cyclone with variable f intensifies slightly more slowly than that with constant f and reaches a final intensity that is about 5 mb weaker than the constant-f comparison. Both tropical cyclones reach an intensity that is within 20 mb of their predicted maximum potential intensity (MPI) based on the mean temperature sounding and SST.

There are some differences in the development of the wind fields between the two simulations. Below about 400 mb the constant-f TC maintains a relatively axisymmetric wind structure throughout the simulation. However, the variable-f TC develops a strong wind asymmetry in the northeast quadrant consistent with a movement toward the northwest. This asymmetry results from the vertical shear that develops due to interactions between the storm and the large-scale gradient of f. The main RMW contraction for the constant-f TC occurs between 54 and 60 h of simulation and occurs through the 700–200-mb layer. Thus, the eyewall structure changes from a steep slope at 48 h to a much more upright eyewall by 72 h of simulation (Figs. 2b,c). In contrast, the main RMW contraction for the variable-f TC occurs between 24 and 48 h of simulation at all levels. Subsequent to this, the RMW expands again as the TC structure becomes more asymmetric and moves to higher latitudes. Overall, these structural differences demonstrate that the asymmetries forced by storm–environment interactions are sufficient to produce significant structural changes in a mature hurricane even when the large-scale environment contains no large-scale vertical shear.

There is evidence of high eyewall PV mixing into the eye in both simulations after approximately 58 h of simulation. Both episodes follow a period of rapid intensification and occur during a period of slight weakening (as measured by minimum sea level pressure). Analysis of the mixing episodes indicates mixing of high PV eyewall air into the eye as described by Schubert et al. (1999) and Kossin and Eastin (2001). However, the weakening of the winds described by these papers is not observed. To the contrary, the winds continue to intensify through the period. This indicates that the asymmetries created in the variable-f simulation are not strong enough by themselves to reverse the direction of eddy mixing of eyewall PV from inward to outward. Frank and Ritchie (2001) showed that significant weakening of the vortex occurred when these eddies began to mix PV outward in the upper levels of their simulated storms. Consequently, the vertical wind shear generated by the variation in f is not significant enough to affect the intensification of the tropical cyclone compared with a constant-f simulation. Of interest is the brief axisymmetrization of the variable-f structure subsequent to this mixing episode to a (rainfall) structure similar to that of the constant-f tropical cyclone (i.e., annular; Knaff et al. 2003). Further analysis of this phenomenon is left to a future paper.

The spatial pattern of precipitation for the VFTC also exhibits a more asymmetric structure than the CFTC simulation with consistently higher rainfall in the eastern sector of the storm, as well as a rainband to the south. This further shows that significant asymmetries can be produced in a hurricane due solely to the shear induced by interactions between a storm and its environment even in the absence of large-scale vertical shear. Both tropical cyclones produce about the same amount of total rainfall when averaged over a 300-km circle, but the CFTC has most of its rainfall concentrated within an intense eyewall. There are periods of stronger and weaker rainfall during the simulation period that correspond to fluctuations in both the minimum sea level pressure and environmental vertical wind shear over the TCs.

In spite of there being no forced environmental shear in either of the two simulations discussed here, vertical wind shear develops in both cases. The vertical wind shear that develops in the CFTC case is light and variable, and vertical profiles of the averaged wind indicate that the variability occurs in the upper-level outflow layer of the tropical cyclone. However, it is noted that when the vertical wind shear (measured as the difference between the average winds at 200– 850 mb) is greater than about 2.7 m s−1, then associated eyewall rainfall asymmetries are observed in the hourly precipitation maps. Thus, rainfall asymmetries can develop under extremely light shear conditions and if persistent enough, may affect the rate at which the tropical cyclone intensifies. However, they are not likely to be strong enough to cause actual weakening of the TC.

The environmental vertical wind shear that develops in the variable-f simulation is quite substantial and ranges in value through the simulation from about 7 to 12 m s−1. However, it is noted that the averaged winds below approximately 400 mb change little throughout the simulation. Thus, the majority of the changes in the calculated vertical wind shear is due to fluctuations in the more unstable outflow layer of the TC as proposed by Wong and Chan (2004) and indicated in Fig. 13. However, despite these fluctuations, the shear magnitude correlates fairly well with trends in the intensification of the TC with higher values of shear corresponding to less rapid intensification or even periods of no intensification (e.g., 39–48 h).

The direction of shear in the variable-f storm is consistently to the south-southeast or southeast indicating a bias in zonal direction that helps to explain why there is an east–west directional bias for favorable tropical cyclone genesis–intensification conditions. The beta shear will subtract from (add to) a basic easterly (westerly) shear to reduce (increase) the overall effective shear over the tropical cyclone (e.g., Table 1). Because it is not clear whether the basic beta gyre environment is adequately represented in observational analyses, this important effect may be missing from calculations of the environmental vertical wind shear in practice. An additional effect is that a weak southeasterly environmental shear could act to cancel the shear due to the beta gyres resulting in an effective zero-shear environment similar to the constant-f environment. Such an environment would be conducive to the development of very axisymmetric tropical cyclones similar to that in the constant-f simulation with almost no asymmetries in their rainfall patterns and the potential to intensify near their MPI. These may be the conditions under which annular hurricanes form (Knaff et al. 2003). Future work includes extending the analysis to include the effects of moderate to large vertical wind shear on tropical cyclone structure in variable f, and investigating the anomalous conditions under which annular hurricanes form.

Acknowledgments

The authors thank three anonymous reviewers for their insightful comments that have helped to improve the manuscript. MM5 was made available through the National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR). Part of this research was conducted while the second author was on sabbatical at the University of New Mexico. All simulations and diagnostics were performed on the computers at the Center for High Performance Computing at the University of New Mexico. This research was sponsored by the National Science Foundation Physical and Dynamic Meteorology Program under Grant ATM-0209416.

REFERENCES

  • Bender, M. A., 1997: The effect of relative flow on the asymmetric structure of the interior of hurricanes. J. Atmos. Sci., 54 , 703724.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Black, M. L., J. F. Gamache, F. D. Marks Jr., D. E. Samsury, and H. E. Willoughby, 2002: Eastern Pacific Hurricanes Jimena of 1991 and Olivia of 1994: The effect of vertical wind shear on structure and intensity. Mon. Wea. Rev., 130 , 22912312.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Burk, S. D., and W. T. Thompson, 1989: A vertically nested regional numerical prediction model with second-order closure physics. Mon. Wea. Rev., 117 , 23052324.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Carr III, L. E., and R. T. Williams, 1989: Barotropic vortex stability to perturbations from axisymmetry. J. Atmos. Sci., 46 , 31773191.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Chan, J. C. L., and R. T. Williams, 1987: Analytical and numerical studies of the beta-effect in tropical cyclone motion. Part I: Zero mean flow. J. Atmos. Sci., 44 , 12571265.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Corbosiero, K. L., and J. Molinari, 2002: The effects of vertical wind shear on the distribution of convection in tropical cyclones. Mon. Wea. Rev., 130 , 21102123.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • DeMaria, M., 1996: The effect of vertical shear on tropical cyclone intensity change. J. Atmos. Sci., 53 , 20762087.

  • Emanuel, K. A., 1988: The maximum intensity of hurricanes. J. Atmos. Sci., 45 , 11431155.

  • Fiorino, M., and R. L. Elsberry, 1989: Some aspects of vortex structure related to tropical cyclone motion. J. Atmos. Sci., 46 , 975990.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Frank, W. M., and E. A. Ritchie, 1999: Effects of environmental flow upon tropical cyclone structure. Mon. Wea. Rev., 127 , 20442061.

  • Frank, W. M., and E. A. Ritchie, 2001: Effects of vertical wind shear on hurricane intensity and structure. Mon. Wea. Rev., 129 , 22492269.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Frank, W. M., and E. A. Ritchie, 2002: Tropical cyclones in complex vertical shears. Preprints, 25th Conf. on Hurricanes and Tropical Meteorology, San Diego, CA, Amer. Meteor. Soc., 315–316.

  • Gray, W. M., 1975: Tropical cyclone genesis. Dept. of Atmospheric Sciences Paper 234, Colorado State University, Ft. Collins, CO, 121 pp.

  • Halverson, J., G. M. Heymsfield, J. Simpson, H. Pierce, T. Hock, and E. A. Ritchie, 2006: Warm core structure of Hurricane Erin diagnosed from high altitude dropsondes during CAMEX-4. J. Atmos. Sci., 63 , 309324.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Jones, S. C., 1995: The evolution of vortices in vertical shear. Part I: Initially barotropic vortices. Quart. J. Roy. Meteor. Soc., 121 , 821851.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Knaff, J. A., J. P. Kossin, and M. DeMaria, 2003: Annular hurricanes. Wea. Forecasting, 18 , 204223.

  • Kossin, J. P., and M. D. Eastin, 2001: Two distinct regimes in the kinematic and thermodynamic structure of the hurricane eye and eyewall. J. Atmos. Sci., 58 , 10791090.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • McBride, J. L., and R. M. Zehr, 1981: Observational analysis of tropical cyclone formation. Part II: Comparison of non-developing vs. developing systems. J. Atmos. Sci., 38 , 11321151.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Schubert, W. H., M. T. Montgomery, R. K. Taft, T. A. Guinn, S. R. Fulton, J. P. Kossin, and J. P. Edwards, 1999: Polygonal eyewalls, asymmetric eye contraction, and potential vorticity mixing in hurricanes. J. Atmos. Sci., 56 , 11971223.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Tao, W-K., and J. Simpson, 1993: Goddard cumulus ensemble model. Part I: Model description. Terr. Atmos. Oceanic Sci., 4 , 3572.

  • Tuleya, R. E., and Y. Kurihara, 1981: A numerical study on the effects of environmental flow on tropical cyclone genesis. Mon. Wea. Rev., 109 , 24872506.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Wong, M. L. M., and J. C. L. Chan, 2004: Tropical cyclone intensity in vertical wind shear. J. Atmos. Sci., 61 , 18591876.

Fig. 1.
Fig. 1.

Time series of the minimum sea level pressure for the variable-f simulation (triangles) and the constant-f simulation (dots).

Citation: Monthly Weather Review 135, 5; 10.1175/MWR3359.1

Fig. 2.
Fig. 2.

Azimuthally averaged wind speed for (a)–(c) constant f and (d)–(f) variable f. The RMW is indicated by the heavy dotted line. The constant-f RMW is indicated in (d)–(f) by the dashed line. Wind speed contours are 5 m s−1.

Citation: Monthly Weather Review 135, 5; 10.1175/MWR3359.1

Fig. 3.
Fig. 3.

Vertical cross sections of wind speed and in-plane circulation vectors at 48 h of simulation: (a) variable f west–east, (b) variable f south–north, (c) constant f west–east, and (d) constant f south–north. The 48 m s−1 contour is highlighted by the heavy black line and the reference vectors are indicated.

Citation: Monthly Weather Review 135, 5; 10.1175/MWR3359.1

Fig. 4.
Fig. 4.

Sequence of 700-mb eyewall PV (shaded every 4 PVU starting at 20 PVU), contour lines of 700 mb θe every 4 K, and wind barbs during an eyewall–eye mixing event for the constant-f simulation. A flag = 25 m s−1, and one full barb = 5 m s−1.

Citation: Monthly Weather Review 135, 5; 10.1175/MWR3359.1

Fig. 5.
Fig. 5.

West–east cross sections of 500-mb wind speed from 58 to 61 h for the constant-f simulation at 58 (solid), 59 (long dashed), 60 (dotted), and 61 h (short dashed).

Citation: Monthly Weather Review 135, 5; 10.1175/MWR3359.1

Fig. 6.
Fig. 6.

Sequence of 1-h rainfall on the 5-km grid for the variable-f simulation during and after the eyewall mixing event. The domain size is 700 × 700 km and the surface wind vectors are indicated. The gray shading is chosen so as to highlight the eyewall asymmetry (R > 75 mm h−1).

Citation: Monthly Weather Review 135, 5; 10.1175/MWR3359.1

Fig. 7.
Fig. 7.

Area-averaged rainfall for the constant- (solid) and variable-f (dashed) simulations for a circle of radius of 100 and 300 km. The 100- and 300-km-radius circles are indicated in Fig. 8.

Citation: Monthly Weather Review 135, 5; 10.1175/MWR3359.1

Fig. 8.
Fig. 8.

Sequence of 6-h rainfall on the 5-km grid for (a)–(c) the constant-f simulation and (d)–(f) the variable-f simulation. The domain size is 700 × 700 km and surface wind vectors are indicated. The gray shading is chosen so as to highlight rainband precipitation [100 < R < 140 mm (6 h)−1] and eyewall rainfall [>160 mm (6 h)−1].

Citation: Monthly Weather Review 135, 5; 10.1175/MWR3359.1

Fig. 9.
Fig. 9.

Constant-f simulation. (a) The 72-h vertical profile of the mean u (solid) and υ (dashed) components of the wind within 300 km of the TC center. The mean layer motion between 200 and 850 mb, and the 200–850-mb shear vectors are indicated. (b) The actual storm motion and mean-layer calculated motion every 6 h.

Citation: Monthly Weather Review 135, 5; 10.1175/MWR3359.1

Fig. 10.
Fig. 10.

The asymmetric component of the 200-mb wind field and relative vorticity for the constant-f simulation at (a) 0, (b) 24, (c) 48, and (d) 72 h of simulation. Maximum vectors are indicated.

Citation: Monthly Weather Review 135, 5; 10.1175/MWR3359.1

Fig. 11.
Fig. 11.

Time series of the tropical cyclone motion and environmental shear for the constant-f simulation: (a) magnitude and (b) direction. The 12-point moving average of the shear magnitude is superposed on (a). The dashed line in (a) indicates the threshold shear magnitude for formation of hourly rainfall asymmetries. The time when 1-h rainfall asymmetries formed are indicated in (a) by triangles and their direction, in (b), by squares.

Citation: Monthly Weather Review 135, 5; 10.1175/MWR3359.1

Fig. 12.
Fig. 12.

Examples of 1-h rainfall and surface wind field for (a), (b) above-threshold shear; (c) below-threshold shear with unrelated asymmetry; and (d) below-threshold shear with a multiple-asymmetry pattern. The arrow indicates the direction and magnitude of shear in each case. One flag = 25 m s−1, and one full barb = 5 m s−1.

Citation: Monthly Weather Review 135, 5; 10.1175/MWR3359.1

Fig. 13.
Fig. 13.

Variable-f simulation showing (a) the actual storm motion and mean-layer calculated motion every 6 h in m s−1; and vertical profile of the mean u (solid) and υ (dashed) components of the wind within 300 km of the TC center at (b) 48 and (c) 72-h, similar to Fig. 7b.

Citation: Monthly Weather Review 135, 5; 10.1175/MWR3359.1

Fig. 14.
Fig. 14.

The 48-h asymmetric component of the wind field and relative vorticity for the dry variable-f simulation at (a) 200, (b) 500, (c) 700, and (d) 850 mb. The domains shown are 1200 × 1200 km, and the simulated beta gyres are indicated with a B. Maximum vector lengths are indicated.

Citation: Monthly Weather Review 135, 5; 10.1175/MWR3359.1

Fig. 15.
Fig. 15.

Time series of the tropical cyclone motion (triangles) and environmental shear (circles) for the variable-f simulation: (a) magnitude and (b) direction.

Citation: Monthly Weather Review 135, 5; 10.1175/MWR3359.1

Fig. 16.
Fig. 16.

The 48-h, 500-mb asymmetric component of the wind field and relative vorticity for the dry variable-f simulation: (a) 15- and (b) 180-km resolution. The domains shown are 1200 × 1200 km, the simulated beta gyres are indicated with a B, and maximum vectors are also indicated.

Citation: Monthly Weather Review 135, 5; 10.1175/MWR3359.1

Fig. 17.
Fig. 17.

Schematic of the way the beta shear adds to an environmental vertical wind shear to produce a resultant shear over the tropical cyclone. According to this idea, a TC embedded in easterly environmental vertical wind shear will always be favored to intensify over a TC embedded in the same magnitude of westerly vertical wind shear.

Citation: Monthly Weather Review 135, 5; 10.1175/MWR3359.1

Table 1.

Sample values calculated for a resultant shear over the TC based on an average northwesterly beta shear of 8 m s−1.

Table 1.
Save
  • Bender, M. A., 1997: The effect of relative flow on the asymmetric structure of the interior of hurricanes. J. Atmos. Sci., 54 , 703724.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Black, M. L., J. F. Gamache, F. D. Marks Jr., D. E. Samsury, and H. E. Willoughby, 2002: Eastern Pacific Hurricanes Jimena of 1991 and Olivia of 1994: The effect of vertical wind shear on structure and intensity. Mon. Wea. Rev., 130 , 22912312.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Burk, S. D., and W. T. Thompson, 1989: A vertically nested regional numerical prediction model with second-order closure physics. Mon. Wea. Rev., 117 , 23052324.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Carr III, L. E., and R. T. Williams, 1989: Barotropic vortex stability to perturbations from axisymmetry. J. Atmos. Sci., 46 , 31773191.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Chan, J. C. L., and R. T. Williams, 1987: Analytical and numerical studies of the beta-effect in tropical cyclone motion. Part I: Zero mean flow. J. Atmos. Sci., 44 , 12571265.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Corbosiero, K. L., and J. Molinari, 2002: The effects of vertical wind shear on the distribution of convection in tropical cyclones. Mon. Wea. Rev., 130 , 21102123.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • DeMaria, M., 1996: The effect of vertical shear on tropical cyclone intensity change. J. Atmos. Sci., 53 , 20762087.

  • Emanuel, K. A., 1988: The maximum intensity of hurricanes. J. Atmos. Sci., 45 , 11431155.

  • Fiorino, M., and R. L. Elsberry, 1989: Some aspects of vortex structure related to tropical cyclone motion. J. Atmos. Sci., 46 , 975990.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Frank, W. M., and E. A. Ritchie, 1999: Effects of environmental flow upon tropical cyclone structure. Mon. Wea. Rev., 127 , 20442061.

  • Frank, W. M., and E. A. Ritchie, 2001: Effects of vertical wind shear on hurricane intensity and structure. Mon. Wea. Rev., 129 , 22492269.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Frank, W. M., and E. A. Ritchie, 2002: Tropical cyclones in complex vertical shears. Preprints, 25th Conf. on Hurricanes and Tropical Meteorology, San Diego, CA, Amer. Meteor. Soc., 315–316.

  • Gray, W. M., 1975: Tropical cyclone genesis. Dept. of Atmospheric Sciences Paper 234, Colorado State University, Ft. Collins, CO, 121 pp.

  • Halverson, J., G. M. Heymsfield, J. Simpson, H. Pierce, T. Hock, and E. A. Ritchie, 2006: Warm core structure of Hurricane Erin diagnosed from high altitude dropsondes during CAMEX-4. J. Atmos. Sci., 63 , 309324.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Jones, S. C., 1995: The evolution of vortices in vertical shear. Part I: Initially barotropic vortices. Quart. J. Roy. Meteor. Soc., 121 , 821851.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Knaff, J. A., J. P. Kossin, and M. DeMaria, 2003: Annular hurricanes. Wea. Forecasting, 18 , 204223.

  • Kossin, J. P., and M. D. Eastin, 2001: Two distinct regimes in the kinematic and thermodynamic structure of the hurricane eye and eyewall. J. Atmos. Sci., 58 , 10791090.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • McBride, J. L., and R. M. Zehr, 1981: Observational analysis of tropical cyclone formation. Part II: Comparison of non-developing vs. developing systems. J. Atmos. Sci., 38 , 11321151.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Schubert, W. H., M. T. Montgomery, R. K. Taft, T. A. Guinn, S. R. Fulton, J. P. Kossin, and J. P. Edwards, 1999: Polygonal eyewalls, asymmetric eye contraction, and potential vorticity mixing in hurricanes. J. Atmos. Sci., 56 , 11971223.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Tao, W-K., and J. Simpson, 1993: Goddard cumulus ensemble model. Part I: Model description. Terr. Atmos. Oceanic Sci., 4 , 3572.

  • Tuleya, R. E., and Y. Kurihara, 1981: A numerical study on the effects of environmental flow on tropical cyclone genesis. Mon. Wea. Rev., 109 , 24872506.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Wong, M. L. M., and J. C. L. Chan, 2004: Tropical cyclone intensity in vertical wind shear. J. Atmos. Sci., 61 , 18591876.

  • Fig. 1.

    Time series of the minimum sea level pressure for the variable-f simulation (triangles) and the constant-f simulation (dots).

  • Fig. 2.

    Azimuthally averaged wind speed for (a)–(c) constant f and (d)–(f) variable f. The RMW is indicated by the heavy dotted line. The constant-f RMW is indicated in (d)–(f) by the dashed line. Wind speed contours are 5 m s−1.

  • Fig. 3.

    Vertical cross sections of wind speed and in-plane circulation vectors at 48 h of simulation: (a) variable f west–east, (b) variable f south–north, (c) constant f west–east, and (d) constant f south–north. The 48 m s−1 contour is highlighted by the heavy black line and the reference vectors are indicated.

  • Fig. 4.

    Sequence of 700-mb eyewall PV (shaded every 4 PVU starting at 20 PVU), contour lines of 700 mb θe every 4 K, and wind barbs during an eyewall–eye mixing event for the constant-f simulation. A flag = 25 m s−1, and one full barb = 5 m s−1.

  • Fig. 5.

    West–east cross sections of 500-mb wind speed from 58 to 61 h for the constant-f simulation at 58 (solid), 59 (long dashed), 60 (dotted), and 61 h (short dashed).

  • Fig. 6.

    Sequence of 1-h rainfall on the 5-km grid for the variable-f simulation during and after the eyewall mixing event. The domain size is 700 × 700 km and the surface wind vectors are indicated. The gray shading is chosen so as to highlight the eyewall asymmetry (R > 75 mm h−1).

  • Fig. 7.

    Area-averaged rainfall for the constant- (solid) and variable-f (dashed) simulations for a circle of radius of 100 and 300 km. The 100- and 300-km-radius circles are indicated in Fig. 8.

  • Fig. 8.

    Sequence of 6-h rainfall on the 5-km grid for (a)–(c) the constant-f simulation and (d)–(f) the variable-f simulation. The domain size is 700 × 700 km and surface wind vectors are indicated. The gray shading is chosen so as to highlight rainband precipitation [100 < R < 140 mm (6 h)−1] and eyewall rainfall [>160 mm (6 h)−1].

  • Fig. 9.

    Constant-f simulation. (a) The 72-h vertical profile of the mean u (solid) and υ (dashed) components of the wind within 300 km of the TC center. The mean layer motion between 200 and 850 mb, and the 200–850-mb shear vectors are indicated. (b) The actual storm motion and mean-layer calculated motion every 6 h.

  • Fig. 10.

    The asymmetric component of the 200-mb wind field and relative vorticity for the constant-f simulation at (a) 0, (b) 24, (c) 48, and (d) 72 h of simulation. Maximum vectors are indicated.

  • Fig. 11.

    Time series of the tropical cyclone motion and environmental shear for the constant-f simulation: (a) magnitude and (b) direction. The 12-point moving average of the shear magnitude is superposed on (a). The dashed line in (a) indicates the threshold shear magnitude for formation of hourly rainfall asymmetries. The time when 1-h rainfall asymmetries formed are indicated in (a) by triangles and their direction, in (b), by squares.

  • Fig. 12.

    Examples of 1-h rainfall and surface wind field for (a), (b) above-threshold shear; (c) below-threshold shear with unrelated asymmetry; and (d) below-threshold shear with a multiple-asymmetry pattern. The arrow indicates the direction and magnitude of shear in each case. One flag = 25 m s−1, and one full barb = 5 m s−1.

  • Fig. 13.

    Variable-f simulation showing (a) the actual storm motion and mean-layer calculated motion every 6 h in m s−1; and vertical profile of the mean u (solid) and υ (dashed) components of the wind within 300 km of the TC center at (b) 48 and (c) 72-h, similar to Fig. 7b.

  • Fig. 14.

    The 48-h asymmetric component of the wind field and relative vorticity for the dry variable-f simulation at (a) 200, (b) 500, (c) 700, and (d) 850 mb. The domains shown are 1200 × 1200 km, and the simulated beta gyres are indicated with a B. Maximum vector lengths are indicated.

  • Fig. 15.

    Time series of the tropical cyclone motion (triangles) and environmental shear (circles) for the variable-f simulation: (a) magnitude and (b) direction.

  • Fig. 16.

    The 48-h, 500-mb asymmetric component of the wind field and relative vorticity for the dry variable-f simulation: (a) 15- and (b) 180-km resolution. The domains shown are 1200 × 1200 km, the simulated beta gyres are indicated with a B, and maximum vectors are also indicated.

  • Fig. 17.

    Schematic of the way the beta shear adds to an environmental vertical wind shear to produce a resultant shear over the tropical cyclone. According to this idea, a TC embedded in easterly environmental vertical wind shear will always be favored to intensify over a TC embedded in the same magnitude of westerly vertical wind shear.

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