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Intensification variability of tropical cyclones in directional shear flows: vortex tilt-convection coupling

Gu, J.-F., Tan, Z.-M. and Qiu, X. (2019) Intensification variability of tropical cyclones in directional shear flows: vortex tilt-convection coupling. Journal of the Atmospheric Sciences, 76 (6). pp. 1827-1844. ISSN 1520-0469

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To link to this item DOI: 10.1175/JAS-D-18-0282.1

Abstract/Summary

The coupling of vortex tilt and convection, and their effects on the intensification variability of tropical cyclones (TCs) in directional shear flows is investigated. The height-dependent vortex tilt controls TC structural differences in clockwise (CW) and counter-clockwise (CC) hodographs during their initial stage of development. Moist convection may enhance the coupling between displaced vortices at different levels and thus reduce the vortex tilt amplitude and enhance precession of the overall vortex tilt during the early stage of development. However, differences in the overall vortex tilt between CW and CC hodographs are further amplified by a feedback from convective heating and therefore result in much higher intensification rates for TCs in CW hodographs than in CC hodographs. In CW hodographs, convection organization in the left-of-shear region is favored because the low-level vortex tilt is ahead of the overall vortex tilt and the TC moves to the left side of the deep-layer shear. This results in a more humid mid-troposphere and stronger surface heat flux on the left side (azimuthally downwind) of the overall vortex tilt, thus providing a positive feedback and supporting continuous precession of the vortex tilt into the up-shear-left region. In CC hodographs, convection tends to organize in the right side (azimuthally upwind) of the overall vortex tilt because the low-level vortex tilt is behind the overall vortex tilt and the TC moves to the right side of the deep-layer shear. In addition, convection organizes radially outward near the down-shear-right region, which weakens convection within the inner region. These configurations lead to a drier mid-troposphere and weaker surface heat flux in the downwind region of the overall vortex tilt and also a broader potential vorticity skirt. As a result, a negative feedback is established that prevents continuous precession of the overall vortex tilt.

Item Type:Article
Refereed:Yes
Divisions:Faculty of Science > School of Mathematical, Physical and Computational Sciences > Department of Meteorology
ID Code:83797
Publisher:American Meteorological Society

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