This study examines axisymmetric and asymmetric aspects of secondary eyewall formation (SEF) in tropical cyclones (TCs) by applying a nonlinear boundary layer model to tangential wind composites of observed TCs with and without SEF. SEF storms were further analyzed at times prior to and after SEF, as defined by the emergence of a secondary maximum in axisymmetric tangential wind. The model is used to investigate the steady‐state boundary layer response to the free‐tropospheric pressure forcing derived from observed tangential wind fields. The axisymmetric response to the Post‐SEF wind field displayed a secondary updraft maximum associated with a mature secondary eyewall; the model correctly produced no secondary updraft for non‐SEF storms. The Pre‐SEF response also exhibited a secondary updraft associated with an incipient secondary eyewall largely due to the broadened outer tangential wind field that commonly precedes SEF events. The asymmetric wind fields and model response were analyzed relative to the 850–200 hPa environmental wind shear vector. In Pre‐SEF storms, the tangential wind field displayed a broadened tangential wind structure in the downshear quadrants. The boundary layer response shows a downwind shift toward the left‐of‐shear quadrants, exhibiting the clearest secondary maxima in updrafts, tangential wind, and radial inflow. This left‐of‐shear response was the leading contributor to the secondary eyewall signals in the Pre‐SEF axisymmetric response. Sensitivity analyses confirmed the robustness of these asymmetric signals. These findings suggest that enhanced tangential wind and boundary layer updrafts in the left‐of‐shear sectors may be early indicators and critical features of SEF in sheared TCs.more » « less
- Award ID(s):
- NSF-PAR ID:
- Publisher / Repository:
- DOI PREFIX: 10.1029
- Date Published:
- Journal Name:
- Journal of Geophysical Research: Atmospheres
- Medium: X
- Sponsoring Org:
- National Science Foundation
More Like this
Abstract The dynamics of an asymmetric rainband complex leading into secondary eyewall formation (SEF) are examined in a simulation of Hurricane Matthew (2016), with particular focus on the tangential wind field evolution. Prior to SEF, the storm experiences an axisymmetric broadening of the tangential wind field as a stationary rainband complex in the downshear quadrants intensifies. The axisymmetric acceleration pattern that causes this broadening is an inward-descending structure of positive acceleration nearly 100 km wide in radial extent and maximizes in the low levels near 50 km radius. Vertical advection from convective updrafts in the downshear-right quadrant largely contributes to the low-level acceleration maximum, while the broader inward-descending pattern is due to horizontal advection within stratiform precipitation in the downshear-left quadrant. This broad slantwise pattern of positive acceleration is due to a mesoscale descending inflow (MDI) that is driven by midlevel cooling within the stratiform regions and draws absolute angular momentum inward. The MDI is further revealed by examining the irrotational component of the radial velocity, which shows the MDI extending downwind into the upshear-left quadrant. Here, the MDI connects with the boundary layer, where new convective updrafts are triggered along its inner edge; these new upshear-left updrafts are found to be important to the subsequent axisymmetrization of the low-level tangential wind maximum within the incipient secondary eyewall.more » « less
As a follow-on to a previous study on secondary eyewall formation (SEF) in a simulation of Hurricane Matthew (2016), this study investigates the emergence and maintenance of an asymmetric rainband updraft region that leads to an SEF event. Under moderate deep-layer environmental wind shear, the storm develops a quasi-stationary rainband complex with intense, persistent updrafts in its left-of-shear, downwind end. Using a budget of equivalent potential temperature
θE, it is demonstrated that the maintenance of the left-of-shear updraft is aided by a mesoscale cold pool induced by rainband stratiform cooling which interacts with the storm’s moist envelope of high- θEair. An extended period of destabilization occurs through differential horizontal advection of θEin the boundary layer, which continuously replenishes the moist instability that would otherwise be depleted by the updrafts. The initial lifting of the updraft is found to be the result of buoyancy advection resulting from the density contrast between the surface cold pool and the inner-core high- θEair. A potential vorticity (PV) budget analysis shows that these left-of-shear updrafts generate low- to midlevel PV through diabatic heating and boundary layer processes, which shapes the local PV enhancement and propagates cyclonically downwind. Meanwhile, in the mid- to upper levels, eddy PV flux convergence and PV generation continue to occur in the stratiform precipitation extending downwind into the upshear quadrants, which substantially increases the azimuthal mean PV at the radius of the developing secondary eyewall and marks the occurrence of the axisymmetrization process.
The distribution of turbulent kinetic energy (TKE) and its budget terms is estimated in simulated tropical cyclones (TCs) of various intensities. Each simulated TC is subject to storm motion, wind shear, and oceanic coupling. Different storm intensities are achieved through different ocean profiles in the model initialization. For each oceanic profile, the atmospheric simulations are performed with and without TKE advection. In all simulations, the TKE is maximized at low levels (i.e., below 1 km) and ∼0.5 km radially inward of the azimuthal‐mean radius of maximum wind speed at 1‐km height. As in a previous study, the axisymmetric TKE decreases with height in the eyewall, but more abruptly in simulations without TKE advection. The largest TKE budget terms are shear generation and dissipation, though variability in vertical turbulent transport and buoyancy production affect the change in the azimuthal‐mean TKE distribution. The general relationships between the TKE budget terms are consistent across different radii, regardless of storm intensity. In terms of the asymmetric distribution in the eyewall, TKE is maximized in the front‐left quadrant where the sea surface temperature (SST) is highest and is minimized in the rear‐right quadrant where the SST is the lowest. In the category‐5 simulation, the height of the TKE maximum varies significantly in the eyewall between quadrants and is between ∼400 m in the rear‐right quadrant and ∼1,000 m in the front‐left quadrant. When TKE advection is included in the simulations, the maximum eyewall TKE values are downwind compared to the simulations without TKE advection.
In a tropical cyclone (TC), turbulence not only exists in the planetary boundary layer (PBL) but also can be generated above the PBL by the cloud processes in the eyewall and rainbands. It is found that the Hurricane Analysis and Forecast System (HAFS), a new multi-scale operational model for TC prediction, fails to capture the intense turbulent mixing in eyewall and rainband clouds due to a poor estimation of static stability in clouds. The problem is fixed by including the effects of multi-phase water in the stability calculation. Simulations of 21 TCs and tropical storms in the North Atlantic basin of 2016–2019 hurricane seasons totaling 118 forecast cycles show that the stability correction substantially improves HAFS's skill in predicting storm track and intensity. Analyses of HAFS's simulations of Hurricane Michael (2018) show that the positive tendency of vortex's tangential wind resulting from the radially inward transport of absolute vorticity dominates the eddy correlation tendencies induced by the model-resolved asymmetric eddies and serves as a main mechanism for the rapid intensification of Michael. The sub-grid scale (SGS) turbulent transport above the PBL in the eyewall plays a pivotal role in initiating a positive feedback among the eyewall convection, mean secondary overturning circulation, vortex acceleration via the inward transport of absolute vorticity, surface evaporation, and radial convergence of moisture in the PBL. Without the SGS transport above the PBL, the model-resolved vertical transport alone may not be sufficient in initiating the positive feedback underlying the rapid intensification of TCs.more » « less
This study explores the spatial and temporal changes in tropical cyclone (TC) thermodynamic and dynamic structures before, near, and during rapid intensification (RI) under different vertical wind shear conditions through four sets of convection-permitting ensemble simulations. A composite analysis of TC structural evolution is performed by matching the RI onset time of each member. Without background flow, the axisymmetric TC undergoes a gradual strengthening of the inner-core vorticity and warm core throughout the simulation. In the presence of moderate environmental shear (5–6 m s−1), both the location and magnitude of the asymmetries in boundary layer radial flow, relative humidity, and vertical motion evolve with the tilt vector throughout the simulation. A budget analysis indicates that tilting is crucial to maintaining the midlevel vortex while stretching and vertical advection are responsible for the upper-level vorticity generation before RI when strong asymmetries arise. Two warm anomalies are observed before the RI onset when the vortex column is tilted. When approaching the RI onset, these two warm anomalies gradually merge into one. Overall, the most symmetric vortex structure is found near the RI onset. Moderately sheared TCs experience an adjustment period from a highly asymmetric structure with updrafts concentrated at the down-tilt side before RI to a more axisymmetric structure during RI as the eyewall updrafts develop. This adjustment period near the RI onset, however, is found to be the least active period for deep convection. TC development under a smaller environmental shear (2.5 m s−1) condition displays an intermediate evolution between ensemble experiments with no background flow and with moderate shear (5–6 m s−1).