Observation of the Tropical Cyclone Diurnal Cycle Using Hyperspectral Infrared Satellite Sounding Retrievals

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  • 1 University of Alabama in Huntsville/NASA Short–term Prediction Research and Transition (SPoRT) Center
  • | 2 NASA Marshall Space Flight Center (MSFC) /NASA Short–term Prediction Research and Transition (SPoRT) Center
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Abstract

Hyperspectral infrared satellite sounding retrievals are used to examine thermodynamic changes in the tropical cyclone (TC) environment associated with the diurnal cycle of radiation. Vertical profiles of temperature and moisture are retrieved from the Suomi National Polar–orbiting Partnership (S–NPP) satellite system, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA)–20, and the Meteorological Operational (MetOp) A/B satellite system, leveraging both infrared and microwave sounding technologies. Vertical profiles are binned radially based on distance from the storm center and composited at 4–hr intervals to reveal the evolution of the diurnal cycle. For the three cases examined – Hurricane Dorian (2019), Hurricane Florence (2018) and Hurricane Irma (2017) – a marked diurnal signal is evident that extends through a deep layer of the troposphere. Statistically significant differences at the 95% level are observed in temperature, moisture, and lapse rate profiles, indicating a moistening and destabilization of the mid to upper troposphere that is more pronounced near the inner core of the TC at night. Observations support a favorable environment for the formation of deep convection caused by diurnal differences in radiative heating tendencies, which could partially explain why new diurnal pulses tend to form around sunset. These findings demonstrate that the diurnal cycle of radiation affects TC thermodynamics through a deep layer of the troposphere, and suggest that hyperspectral infrared satellite sounding retrievals are valuable assets in detecting thermodynamic variations in TCs.

Corresponding author: Erika L. Duran, erika.l.duran@nasa.gov

Current Affiliation: CFD Research, Huntsville, Alabama.

Abstract

Hyperspectral infrared satellite sounding retrievals are used to examine thermodynamic changes in the tropical cyclone (TC) environment associated with the diurnal cycle of radiation. Vertical profiles of temperature and moisture are retrieved from the Suomi National Polar–orbiting Partnership (S–NPP) satellite system, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA)–20, and the Meteorological Operational (MetOp) A/B satellite system, leveraging both infrared and microwave sounding technologies. Vertical profiles are binned radially based on distance from the storm center and composited at 4–hr intervals to reveal the evolution of the diurnal cycle. For the three cases examined – Hurricane Dorian (2019), Hurricane Florence (2018) and Hurricane Irma (2017) – a marked diurnal signal is evident that extends through a deep layer of the troposphere. Statistically significant differences at the 95% level are observed in temperature, moisture, and lapse rate profiles, indicating a moistening and destabilization of the mid to upper troposphere that is more pronounced near the inner core of the TC at night. Observations support a favorable environment for the formation of deep convection caused by diurnal differences in radiative heating tendencies, which could partially explain why new diurnal pulses tend to form around sunset. These findings demonstrate that the diurnal cycle of radiation affects TC thermodynamics through a deep layer of the troposphere, and suggest that hyperspectral infrared satellite sounding retrievals are valuable assets in detecting thermodynamic variations in TCs.

Corresponding author: Erika L. Duran, erika.l.duran@nasa.gov

Current Affiliation: CFD Research, Huntsville, Alabama.

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