Idealized Study of Ocean Impacts on Tropical Cyclone Intensity Forecasts
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Idealized Study of Ocean Impacts on Tropical Cyclone Intensity Forecasts
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  • Source:
    Monthly Weather Review, 143(4), 1142-1165.
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  • Description:
    Idealized coupled tropical cyclone (TC) simulations are conducted to isolate ocean impacts on intensity forecasts. A one-dimensional ocean model is embedded into the Hurricane Weather Research and Forecasting (HWRF) mesoscale atmospheric forecast model. By inserting an initial vortex into a horizontally uniform atmosphere above a horizontally uniform ocean, the SST cooling rate becomes the dominant large-scale process controlling intensity evolution. Westward storm translation is introduced by bodily advecting ocean fields toward the east. The ocean model produces a realistic cold wake structure allowing the sensitivity of quasi-equilibrium intensity to storm (translation speed, size) and ocean (heat potential) parameters to be quantified. The atmosphere provides feedback through adjustments in 10-m temperature and humidity that reduce SST cooling impact on quasi-equilibrium intensity by up to 40%. When storms encounter an oceanic region with different heat potential, enthalpy flux adjustment is governed primarily by changes in air-sea temperature and humidity differences that respond within 2-4 h in the inner-core region, and secondarily by wind speed changes occurring over a time interval up to 18 h after the transition. Atmospheric feedback always acts to limit the change in enthalpy flux and intensity through adjustments in 10-m temperature and humidity. Intensity change is asymmetric, with a substantially smaller increase for storms encountering larger heat potential compared to the decrease for storms encountering smaller potential. The smaller increase results initially from the smaller wind speed present at the transition time plus stronger limiting atmospheric feedback. The smaller wind speed increase resulting from these two factors further enhances the asymmetry.
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