Sunday, 23 January 2011
Increased interest has recently been expressed in the structure and characteristics of clouds in tropical cyclones (TCs) as compared to clouds in the tropical atmosphere in general. Recent work by Yokoyama and Takayabu has studied the size and height distributions of TRMM 2A25-derived precipitation features (PFs) in the tropics. Building on their work, this study looks at the size and height distributions of PFs over tropical cyclones in order to understand how they differ from typical tropical clouds. It is found that PFs associated with tropical cyclones are significantly larger and higher than are general tropics PFs; while this was expected, the study provides a solid estimate of how the distributions are different. The distribution of PFs of different heights and sizes are found to occur in different quadrants of TCs. For PFs smaller than 1E3.5km2, the features below 8km were concentrated in the left and rear parts of the TC, while PFs above 8km were found to be found in the right and rear sections of TCs. Considering the large role of convection in TC simulations, and the little understood differences being found between TC and general tropical clouds, these results further our understanding of several key research topics.
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