Tropical Cyclone Warm Core Structures as Observed by Recent High-Altitude Aircraft and Satellites

Friday, 22 April 2016: 11:00 AM
Ponce de Leon A (The Condado Hilton Plaza)
Derrick Herndon, CIMSS, Madison, WI

Derrick Herndon and Christopher Velden University of Wisconsin Cooperative Institute for Meteorological Satellite Studies


Recent TC-focused field programs employing high-altitude research aircraft have yielded unprecedented in-situ observations and information on the upper-troposphere-lower stratospheric TC structure. Several cases of TC overflights from the NASA unmanned Global Hawk and the piloted WB-57 were accomplished as part of the NASA HS3, NOAA SHOUT, and ONR TCI field experiments in the Atlantic or East Pacific over the past 4 years. Wind and thermodynamic profiles from dropsondes released by aircraft flying over the storm cloud canopy and core, and in some cases augmented with remotely sensed data from instruments onboard the aircraft, will be employed to examine the strength and evolution of the upper-level warm cores and outflow. Examples and preliminary analyses will be shown.

These observations can also be used to compare with and calibrate satellite microwave sounder depictions of the warm core. Previous studies have shown a strong correlation exists between the strength of satellite-observed warm core anomalies and TC intensity. However, the relatively coarse and variable resolution of the satellite sensors enables only a volumetrically-smoothed representation of the true thermal anomalies. The aircraft data will allow for a better understanding of these limitations, and possible unique calibration opportunities for satellite-based TC intensity algorithms.

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