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Extreme Low-Level Updrafts and Wind Speeds Measured by Dropsondes in Tropical Cyclones
  • Published Date:
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    Monthly Weather Review, 144(6), 2177-2204.
Filetype[PDF-4.98 MB]

  • Description:
    Previous studies have found surprisingly strong vertical motions in low levels of some tropical cyclones. In this study, all available dropsondes (similar to 12 000) within tropical cyclones during 1997-2013 are examined, in order to create a dataset of the most extreme updrafts (>= 10m s(-1); 169 sondes) and wind speeds (>= 90m s(-1); 64 sondes). It is shown that extreme low-level (0-3 km) updrafts are ubiquitous within intense (category 4 and 5) tropical cyclones, and that few such updrafts have been observed within weaker storms. These extreme updrafts, which are almost exclusively found within the eyewall just inward of the radius of maximum winds, sometimes occur in close association with extreme horizontal wind speeds. Consistent with previous studies, it is suggested that both the extremes in vertical velocity and wind speed are associated with small-scale (; 1 km) vortices that exist along the eye-eyewall interface. As a substantial number of updrafts are found within a kilometer of the surface, it can be shown that it is implausible for buoyancy to be the primary mechanism for vertical acceleration. Additionally, the azimuthal distribution of both the extreme updrafts and wind speeds is strongly associated with the orientation of the environmental vertical wind shear.

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