228 Examining the Three-Dimensional Structure and Evolution of Potential Vorticity in Rapidly Intensifying Tropical Cyclones

Thursday, 19 April 2018
Champions DEFGH (Sawgrass Marriott)
Jonathan Martinez, Colorado State Univ., Fort Collins, CO; and M. M. Bell

Potential vorticity (PV) is a fundamental quantity in rapidly rotating vortices such as tropical cyclones (TCs), carrying the full information of the balanced mass and wind fields. Examining the evolution of PV during TC rapid intensification can therefore provide key insight to understanding the underlying physical mechanisms contributing to this process. High-resolution observations gathered in Hurricane Patricia (2015) as part of the Tropical Cyclone Intensity (TCI) experiment and the NOAA Intensity Forecasting Experiment (IFEX) provided the unique opportunity to analyze the full tropospheric axisymmetric PV structure and evolution of a rapidly intensifying TC. Given the spatiotemporal limitations of the observational analyses, we employ the cloud-resolving model CM1 to further analyze the evolution of PV structures in tropical cyclones during rapid intensity fluctuations. An inter-comparison of the PV structure and evolution from both the axisymmetric and three-dimensional simulations of a rapidly intensifying TC will be presented along with a comparison to the observations of Hurricane Patricia. Furthermore, PV budgets are performed for each simulation and the results will be presented in the context of understanding the role of PV asymmetries during the rapid intensification process. The possibility of retrieving three-dimensional PV using a recently developed thermodynamic retrieval technique for tropical cyclones will also be explored.
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