Spontaneous tropical cyclogenesis in a cloud revolving numerical model
Author(s)Hoffman, Paul M., S.B. Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Department of Earth, Atmospheric, and Planetary Sciences.
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In this thesis, spontaneous tropical cyclogenesis occurring in a cloud-resolving numerical model is studied. The model environment is one of radiative convective-equilibrium on an f-plane with doubly periodic boundary conditions and constant sea surface temperature. While a variety of initial conditions may exhibit spontaneous tropical cyclogenesis, this study focuses on one. Using assumptions of axisymmetry for the growing disturbance and focusing on the large scale processes, fields were created for a number of thermodynamic variables along constant height surfaces and as azimuthal means plotted against height. The tropical cyclone is hypothesized to develop in three steps. First, convective aggregation creates regions of high moist static energy, and regions of cold dry air. Importantly, a deep moist column is created which provides a perfect environment the developing storm. In the second step, mid-level cyclone intensification, a mid-level cold core cyclone develops in the deep moist region, and benefits from moist static energy and potential vorticity fluxes from the upper troposphere. Exhibiting anticyclonic convergent flow, the upper troposphere is an unlikely source for the mid-level disturbance, while convective downdrafts and divergent surface flow hinder energy transport from the ocean to the growing system. In fact, a cold surface anticyclone exists near the center for much of the second step. It is not until potential vorticity anomalies advect down to the surface that the final step, low-level cyclone intensification, creates a classical hurricane structure. Potential vorticity advection stimulates cyclonic flow at the surface, extinguishing the surface anticyclone, and thereby linking the mid-level disturbance to the oceanic energy source. While like some cold core cyclones previously studied, the anticyclone as an energy source is unique to this spontaneous case.
Thesis: S.B., Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Department of Earth, Atmospheric, and Planetary Sciences, 2008.Cataloged from PDF version of thesis.Includes bibliographical references (page 24).
DepartmentMassachusetts Institute of Technology. Department of Earth, Atmospheric, and Planetary Sciences.
Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Earth, Atmospheric, and Planetary Sciences.