3A.6 Effects of Sea Surface Temperature distributions on Tropical Cyclone intensification

Friday, 13 November 2009: 9:40 AM
Yaw Kyei, North Carolina A & T State University, Greensboro, NC; and Y. L. Lin and G. Tang

The issue of favorable conditions that affect intensifications of tropical cyclones (TCs) continues to receive significant research attention. Among the various factors, we focus on the heat potential of the cyclones from their interactions with the ocean surface temperature distributions. Similar studies have been conducted (Shay et al. 2000, Kaplan and DeMaria 2003), which showcase the fact that sea surface temperature (SST) may have dominant effects on rapid intensifications on the tropical cyclones (Shay et al. 2000, Goni et al. 2003).

To contribute to the fact that variations in SST distributions is the dominant driver for TC intensifications, we reproduce and illustrate the time series intensifications of the tropical storms Gustav (2008) and Ike (2008) from the WRF model with 15 km resolution. Our results show that intensifications of these storms occurred as they traveled to regions of higher sea surface temperatures. The rapid intensifications of Ike may also have resulted from feedbacks due to interactions of the inflow surface storm winds with much warmer waters away from the eye. Furthermore, the intensity prediction skill of the model beyond Category two is lacking for both storms with the 15 km resolution which is a result that has been well documented.

We deduce that the intensity prediction skill of the model may be improved through numerically weighted collocations treatments (Lundquist et al. 2008) of local data distributions including SST to incorporate their variations, a requirement for higher order numerical accuracy predictions. Numerical sensitivity experiments with much larger domain and longer simulation time will be performed to study effects of SST in eastern Pacific Ocean on the intensification of Atlantic TCs.

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