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  1. This study assessed two different vortex initialization (VI) and relocation methods for improved prediction of tropical cyclones (TCs) over the Bay of Bengal (BoB) using the triply nested (27/9/3 km) state-of-the-art Hurricane Weather Research and Forecasting (HWRF) model. The first VI method, “cold-start,” obtained the initial TC vortex from the global analysis. The second one, “cyclic-start,” received the initial vortex from the 6-h forecast of the previous forecast cycle of the same model. In both the strategies, the vortex was corrected to the position, strength, and structure defined by the India Meteorological Department. A total of 32 forecast cases (from five cyclones) over the BoB were considered. The cyclic-start experiments yielded better initial structure and asymmetry as compared to the cold-start experiments. The average statistics indicated that the cyclic initialization improved the 24-h track prediction (by 29%), while the cold initialization was better for the 72-h prediction (by ~ 28%). The intensity was consistently improved in the cyclic-start experiment by up to 68%. The number of cyclic initializations depended on the TC duration. On average, the cyclic initialization improved the representation (strength and size) of the initial vortex up to nine cycles after the first cold start and exhibited an improved skillmore »of 25%; beyond nine cycles, the skill improvement was only 12%. Diagnostic analyses of very severe cyclonic storm (VSCS) Phailin (rapidly intensified) and VSCS Lehar (rapidly weakening) revealed that the cyclic initialization realistically represented equivalent potential temperature, upper-level cloud condensate, and moisture intrusion, which improved the model performance. This study brought out the benefit of the (cyclic) VI for improved TC prediction capabilities in the BoB basin.« less
  2. Abstract

    We present a numerical investigation of the processes that influenced the contrasting rapid intensity changes in Tropical Cyclones (TC) Phailin and Lehar (2013) over the Bay of Bengal. Our emphasis is on the significant differences in the environments experienced by the TCs within a few weeks and the consequent differences in their organization of vortex-scale convection that resulted in their different rapid intensity changes. The storm-relative proximity, intensity, and depth of the subtropical ridge resulted in the establishment of a low-sheared environment for Phailin and a high-sheared environment for Lehar. Our primary finding here is that in Lehar’s sheared vortex, the juxtaposition in the azimuthal phasing of the asymmetrically distributed downward eddy flux of moist-entropy through the top of the boundary layer, and the radial eddy flux of moist-entropy within the boundary layer in the upshear left-quadrant of Lehar (40–80 km radius) establishes a pathway for the low moist-entropy air to intrude into the vortex from the environment. Conversely, when the azimuthal variations in boundary layer moist-entropy, inflow, and convection are weak in Phailin’s low-sheared environment, the inflow magnitude and radial location of boundary layer convergence relative to the radius of maximum wind dictated the rapid intensification.