Mesoscale Processes during the Genesis of Hurricane Karl (2010)
Bell, Michael M.
Montgomery, Michael T.
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Observations from the Pre-Depression Investigation of Cloud Systems in the Tropics (PREDICT), Genesis and Rapid Intensification Processes (GRIP), and Intensity Forecast Experiment (IFEX) field campaigns are analyzed to investigate the mesoscale processes leading to the tropical cyclogenesis of Hurricane Karl (2010). Research aircraft missions provided Doppler radar, in situ flight level tropical cyclogenesis of Hurricane Karl (2010). Research aircraft missions provided Doppler radar, in situ flight level, and dropsonde data documenting the structural changes of the predepression disturbance. Following the pre-Karl wave pouch, variational analyses at the meso-b and meso-a scales suggest that the convective cycle in Karl alternately built the low- and midlevel circulations leading to genesis episodically rather than through a sustained lowering of the convective mass flux from increased stabilization. Convective bursts that erupt in the vorticity-rich environment of the recirculating pouch region enhance the low-level meso-b- and meso-a-scale circulation through vortex stretching. As the convection wanes, the resulting stratiform precipitation strengthens the midlevel circulation through conver- gence associated with ice microphysical processes, protecting the disturbance from the intrusion of dry envi- ronmental air. Once the column saturation fraction returns to a critical value, a subsequent convective burst below the midlevel circulation further enhances the low-level circulation, and the convective cycle repeats. The analyses suggest that the onset of deep convection and associated low-level spinup were closely related to the coupling of the vorticity and moisture fields at low and midlevels. Our interpretation of the observational analysis presented in this study reaffirms a primary role of deep convection in the genesis process and provides a hypothesis for the supporting role of stratiform precipitation and the midlevel vortex.
The article of record as published may be found at https://doi.org/10.1175/JAS-D-18-0161.1
RightsThis publication is a work of the U.S. Government as defined in Title 17, United States Code, Section 101. Copyright protection is not available for this work in the United States.
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