27th Conference on Hurricanes and Tropical Meteorology


Formation of the Hurricane Eye

Jonathan L. Vigh, Colorado State University, Fort Collins, Colorado

Tropical cyclones are often observed to rapidly intensify with a concomitant increase in structural organization during or just after the formation of a central region characterized by lighter winds and little precipitation known as the hurricane 'eye'. Formation of the eye apparently occurs due to the juxtaposition of two structural trends in the developing storm vortex: convection begins to concentrate at some preferred radial distance from the storm center while a region of subsiding air develops within the emerging convective annulus.

Various mechanisms have been proffered to explain why and how these structural changes occur. These may be grossly classified into several categories: (1) kinematic or thermodynamic aspects of the intensifying storm act to force subsidence in the center, (2) boundary layer frictional processes and/or geometric considerations lead to a preferred radius of upward motion and convective forcing, and (3) changes occur in the storm's convective morphology, such as an encircling rain band, which also drive central subsidence. Indeed, eye formation may result as a consequence of all of these (and possibly other) mechanisms acting in concert. This work examines the relative importance of each of the various mechanisms with the goal of determining whether there is a unique dynamical pathway to tropical cyclone eye formation.

These goals are accomplished by means of idealized numerical simulations using NCAR's Advanced Research WRF (ARW) model and NCEP's Hurricane WRF model (HWRF).

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Session 1B, Tropical Cyclone Structure I
Monday, 24 April 2006, 8:00 AM-9:45 AM, Regency Grand BR 1-3

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