The azimuthally averaged boundary layer structure of a numerically simulated major hurricane
Abarca, Sergio F.
Montgomery, Michael T.
McWilliams, James C.
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This work examines the azimuthally averaged boundary layer structure of a numerically simulated hurricane. We nominally define the hurricane boundary layer as the layer in which the effects of surface friction are associated with significant departures from gradient wind balance. The boundary layer in the intensifying primary and forming secondary eyewalls is found to be nonlinear. At large radii, exterior to the eyewalls, Ekman-like balance as traditionally defined, is found to hold true. Where significant departures from Ekman-like balance are found, the departures are characterized by large vertical advection of horizontal velocity through the depth of the boundary layer. Shock-like structures are not found to be prominent in the azimuthally averaged view of the vortex boundary layer, with the largest azimuthally averaged radial gradients of the radial and tangential velocities being on the order of only a few meters per second per kilometer. Also, in the radial regions of the eyewalls, at the height where the averaged tangential wind is a maximum, the radial advection of radial velocity is an order of magnitude smaller than the agradient force per unit mass. Some physical implications of these findings are discussed.
The article of record as published may be found at http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/2015MS000457The data used in this paper can be accessed by emailing the first author at firstname.lastname@example.org
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