Numerical Weather Modelling of the Factors affecting the Rapid Intensification of Tropical Cyclone Yasi
A full suite of numerical weather modeling simulations has been carried out with the National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR) Weather Research and Forecasting (WRF) Model v.3.4.1 to simulate this TC event. The simulations with WRF were utilized to determine an appropriate model set up and the boundary and initial condition data required to accurately simulate the track, timing and intensity of this extreme event. Simulations reveal the difficulties in capturing the intensity of an event of this size and magnitude but also important details about the characteristics of the storm environment that supported such an extreme event. Sensitivity simulations demonstrate how an intense TC can be sensitive to environmental factors in the region such as sea surface temperature (SST) values and gradients.
This modeling work is combined with analysis and quantification of changes to SST; nutrient and sediment loading; and chlorophyll a concentrations in surface waters along the coastline from before to after TC Yasi with remotely sensed data sets such as from MODIS. The data validates the wide spread interaction that TC Yasi and events of this size and intensity have with the ocean surface and the negative and long term impacts they can have on coastal and marine ecosystems.