Land-based convection effects on formation of tropical cyclone Mekkhala (2008)
Bell, Michael M.
Elsberry, Russell L.
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The effects of land-based convection on the formation of Tropical Storm Mekkhala (2008) off the west coast of the Philippines are investigated using the Weather Research and Forecasting Model with 4-km horizontal grid spacing. Five simulations with Thompson microphysics are utilized to select the control-land experiment that reasonably replicates the observed sea level pressure evolution. To demonstrate the contribution of the land-based convection, sensitivity experiments are performed by changing the land of the northern Philippines to water, and all five of these no-land experiments fail to develop Mekkhala. The Mekkhala tropical depression develops when an intense, well-organized land-based mesoscale convective system moves offshore from Luzon and interacts with an oceanic mesoscale system embedded in a strong monsoon westerly flow. Because of this interaction, a midtropospheric mesoscale convective vortex (MCV) organizes offshore from Luzon, where monsoon convection continues to contribute to low-level vorticity enhancement below the midlevel vortex center. In the no-land experiments, widespread oceanic convection induces a weaker midlevel vortex farther south in a strong vertical wind shear zone and subsequently farther east in a weaker monsoon vortex region. Thus, the monsoon convection–induced low-level vorticity remained separate from the midtropospheric MCV, which finally resulted in a failure of the low-level spinup. This study suggests that land-based convection can play an advantageous role in TC formation by influencing the intensity and the placement of the incipient midtropospheric MCV to be more favorable for TC low-level circulation development.
The article of record as published may be found at http://dx.doi.org/10.1175/MWR-D-16-0167.1
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