Radial-Vertical Profiles of Tropical Cyclone Derived from Dropsondes
Ren, Wei, 1977- (author)
Cai, Ming, 1957- (professor directing thesis)
Misra, Vasubandhu, 1970- (committee member)
Sura, Philip (committee member)
Florida State University (degree granting institution)
College of Arts and Sciences (degree granting college)
Department of Earth, Ocean, and Atmospheric Science (degree granting department)
The scopes of this thesis research are two folds: the first one is to the construct the intensity-based composite radial-vertical profiles of tropical cyclones (TC) using GPS-based dropsonde observations and the second one is to identify the major deficiencies of Mathur vortices against the dropsonde composites of TCs. The intensity-based dropsonde composites of TCs advances our understanding of the dynamic and thermal structure of TCs of different intensity along the radial direction in and above the boundary layer where lies the devastating high wind that causes property damages and storm surges. The identification of the major deficiencies of Mathur vortices in representing the radial-vertical profiles of TC of different intensity helps to improve numerical predictions of TCs since most operational TC forecast models need to utilize bogus vortices, such as Mathur vortices, to initialize TC forecasts and simulations. We first screen all available GPS dropsonde data within and round 35 named TCs over the tropical Atlantic basin from 1996 to 2010 and pair them with TC parameters derived from the best-track data provided by the National Hurricane Center (NHC) and select 1149 dropsondes that have continuous coverage in the lower troposphere. The composite radial-vertical profiles of tangential wind speed, temperature, mixing ratio and humidity are based for each TC category ranging from "Tropical Storm" (TS) to "Hurricane Category 1" (H1) through "Hurricane Category 5" (H5). The key findings of the dropsonde composites are: (i) all TCs have the maximum tangential wind within 1 km above the ground and a distance of 1-2 times of the radius of maximum wind (RMW) at the surface; (ii) all TCs have a cold ring surrounding the warm core near the boundary layer at a distance of 1-3 times of the RMW and the cold ring structure gradually diminishes at a higher elevation where the warm core structure prevails along the radial direction; (iii) the existence of such shallow cold ring outside the RMW explains why the maximum tangential wind is within 1 km above the ground and is outside the RMW, as required by the hydrostatic and gradient wind balance relations; (iv) one of the main differences among TCs of different intensity, besides the speed of the maximum tangential wind, is the vertical extent of near-saturated moisture air layer inside the core. A weaker TC tends to have a deep layer of the near-saturated moisture air layer whereas a stronger TC has a shallow one; (v) another main difference in the thermal structure among TCs of different intensity is the intensity and vertical extent of the warm core extending from the upper layer to the lower layer. In general, a stronger TC has a stronger warm core extending downward further into lower layer and vice versa. The features (iv) and (v) are consistent with the fact that a stronger TC tends to have stronger descending motion inside the core. The main deficiencies of Mathur vortices in representing the radial-vertical profiles of TC of different intensity are (i) Mathur vortices of all categories have the maximum wind at the surface; (ii) none of Mathur vortices have a cold ring outside the warm core near the boundary layer; (iii) Mathur vortices tend to overestimate warm core structure in reference to the horizontal mean temperature profile; (iv) Mathur vortices tend to overestimate the vertical depth of the near-saturated air layer near the boundary layer.
October 8, 2014.
A Thesis submitted to the Department of Earth, Ocean, and Atmospheric Science in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of Master of Science.
Includes bibliographical references.
Ming Cai, Professor Directing Thesis; Vasu Misra, Committee Member; Philip Sura, Committee Member.
Florida State University
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