Convective contribution to the genesis of hurricane Ophelia (2005)

AMS Citation:
Houze, R. A., W. -C. Lee, and M. Bell, 2009: Convective contribution to the genesis of hurricane Ophelia (2005). Monthly Weather Review, 137, 2778-2800, doi:10.1175/2009MWR2727.1.
Date:2009-09-01
Resource Type:article
Title:Convective contribution to the genesis of hurricane Ophelia (2005)
Abstract: The convection occurring in the tropical depression that became Hurricane Ophelia (2005) was investigated just prior to tropical storm formation. Doppler radar showed a deep, wide, intense convective cell of a type that has been previously thought to occur in intensifying tropical depressions but has not heretofore been documented in detail. The updraft of the cell was 10 km wide, 17 km deep, had updrafts of 10-20 m s⁻¹ throughout its mid- to upper levels, and contained a cyclonic vorticity maximum. The massive convective updraft was maintained by strong positive buoyancy, which was maximum at about the 10-km level, probably aided by latent heat of freezing. Evaporative cooling and precipitation drag occurred in the rain shower of the cell but were insufficient to produce a strong downdraft or gust front outflow to force the updraft. The convective updraft was fed by a layer of strong inflow that was several kilometers deep. Wind-induced turbulence, just above the ocean surface, enriched the equivalent potential temperature of the boundary layer of the inflow air, thus creating an unstable layer with little convective inhibition. This air was raised to its level of free convection when it encountered the denser air in the rainy core of the convection. The updraft motion and latent heat release in the intense cell generated potential vorticity throughout the low to midlevels, and contained a cyclonic vortex at the midlevels. Vorticity generated throughout the depth of the low to midtroposphere within convective updraft cells was subsequently incorporated into a stratiform region attached to the region of active convective cells. The vorticity perturbations at the low to midlevels in convective cells and their attached stratiform regions were available to be axisymmetrized into the larger-scale intensifying depression vortex.
Subject(s):Hurricanes, Convection, Tropical cyclones, Updrafts, Cyclogenesis/cyclolysis
Peer Review:Refereed
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OpenSky citable URL: ark:/85065/d74m95kp
Publisher's Version: 10.1175/2009MWR2727.1
Author(s):
  • Robert Houze
  • Wen-Chau Lee - NCAR/UCAR
  • Michael Bell - NCAR/UCAR
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