A simple theoretical model for the intensification of tropical cyclones and polar lows
Gray, S. L. and Craig, C. G. (1998) A simple theoretical model for the intensification of tropical cyclones and polar lows. Quarterly Journal of the Royal Meteorological Society, 124 (547). pp. 919-947. ISSN 1477-870X
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To link to this article DOI: 10.1002/qj.49712454713
A simple theoretical model for the intensification of tropical cyclones and polar lows is developed using a minimal set of physical assumptions. These disturbances are assumed to be balanced systems intensifying through the WISHE (Wind-Induced Surface Heat Exchange) intensification mechanism, driven by surface fluxes of heat and moisture into an atmosphere which is neutral to moist convection. The equation set is linearized about a resting basic state and solved as an initial-value problem. A system is predicted to intensify with an exponential perturbation growth rate scaled by the radial gradient of an efficiency parameter which crudely represents the effects of unsaturated processes. The form of this efficiency parameter is assumed to be defined by initial conditions, dependent on the nature of a pre-existing vortex required to precondition the atmosphere to a state in which the vortex can intensify. Evaluation of the simple model using a primitive-equation, nonlinear numerical model provides support for the prediction of exponential perturbation growth. Good agreement is found between the simple and numerical models for the sensitivities of the measured growth rate to various parameters, including surface roughness, the rate of transfer of heat and moisture from the ocean surface, and the scale for the growing vortex.