The Unexpected Rapid Intensification of Tropical Cyclones in Moderate Vertical Wind Shear. Part 2: Vortex Tilt
Journal Article - Open Access
NAVAL RESEARCH LAB WASHINGTON DC WASHINGTON United States
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We investigate a class of tropical cyclones TCs that undergo rapid intensification RI in moderate vertical wind shear through analysis of a series of idealized model simulations. Two key findings derived from observational analysis are that the average 200-850-hPa shear value is 7.5 m s-1 and that the TCs displayed coherent cloud structures, deemed tilt-modulated convective asymmetries TCA, which feature pulses of deep convection with periods of between 4 and 8 h. Additionally, all of the TCs are embedded in an environment that is characterized by shear associated with anticyclones, a factor that limits depth of the strongest environmental winds in the vertical. The idealized TC develops in the presence of relatively shallow environmental wind shear of an anticyclone. An analysis of the TC tilt in the vertical demonstrates that the source of the observed 4-8-h periodicity of the TCAs can be explained by smaller-scale nutations of the tilt on the longer, slower upshear precession. When the environmental wind shear occurs over a deeper layer similar to that of a trough, the TC does not develop. The TCAs are characterized as collections of updrafts that are buoyant throughout the depth of the TC since they rise into a cold anomaly caused by the tilting vortex. At 90 h into the simulation, RI occurs, and the tilt nutations and hence the TCAs cease to occur.