S93 An analysis on the rapid intensification of Hurricane Wilma from the 2005 Atlantic hurricane season

Sunday, 23 January 2011
Vanessa Marie Vincente, Colorado State University, Fort Collins, CO

Handout (3.3 MB)

One of the most noteworthy tropical systems from the record-breaking 2005 Atlantic hurricane season was Hurricane Wilma. Wilma's deepening rate, minimum central pressure, and small eye motivate further research into its life cycle. Unfortunately, barotropic models have difficulty reproducing Wilma's observed rapid intensification (RI) period. The cause of this predicament may be attributed to the model's initialization fields, a lack of a denser observational network, or insufficient remote sensing measurements. This research offers beneficial insights into Wilma's dynamic personality by using a 3-D visualization and analysis tool, Unidata's Integrated Data Viewer (IDV), to investigate what dynamic and thermodynamic parameters played a role in Wilma's RI.

Examination of model output retrieved from the Hurricane Weather Research and Forecasting (H-WRF) model revealed strong positive correlations between: net latent heat flux and wind speed; surface relative humidity and precipitable water. Strong negative correlations were found between: mean sea level pressure and wind speed; mean sea level pressure and precipitable water. An abundant amount of moisture provided the latent heat release needed to fuel and further intensify Wilma, evident by its rapid deepening and increasing wind speed. Little wind shear and distinct surface cyclonic and upper-level anticyclonic circulations allowed Wilma to sustain its composition. These results serve as a foundation to build upon by others exploring the RI of Wilma or other tropical systems. Unidata's RAMADDA server is designed for the community to gain access to all content related to Wilma, and provide ancillary data analysis or model output to further advance Wilma's case study.

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