Estimating vertical velocity and flow from Doppler radar observations of tropical cyclones

AMS Citation:
Lee, J. L., W. -chau Lee, and A. E. Macdonald, 2006: Estimating vertical velocity and flow from Doppler radar observations of tropical cyclones. Quarterly Journal of the Royal Meteorological Society, 132, 125-145, doi:10.1256/qj.04.77.
Resource Type:article
Title:Estimating vertical velocity and flow from Doppler radar observations of tropical cyclones
Abstract: The mesoscale vorticity method (MVM) is used in conjunction with the ground-based velocity track display (GBVTD) to derive the inner-core vertical velocity from Doppler radar observations of tropical cyclone (TC) Danny (1997). MVM derives the vertical velocity from vorticity variations in space and in time based on the mesoscale vorticity equation. The use of MVM and GBVTD allows us to derive good correlations among the eye-wall maximum wind, bow-shaped updraught and echo east of the eye-wall in Danny. Furthermore, we demonstrate the dynamically consistent radial flow can be derived from the vertical velocity obtained from MVM using the wind decomposition technique that solves the Poisson equations over a limited-area domain. With the wind decomposition, we combine the rotational wind which is obtained from Doppler radar wind observations and the divergent wind which is inferred dynamically from the rotational wind to form the balanced horizontal wind in TC inner cores, where rotational wind dominates the divergent wind. In this study, we show a realistic horizontal and vertical structure of the vertical velocity and the induced radial flow in Danny's inner core. In the horizontal, the main eye-wall updraught draws in significant surrounding air, converging at the strongest echo where the maximum updraught is located. In the vertical, the main updraught tilts vertically outwards, corresponding very well with the outward-tilting eye-wall. The maximum updraught is located at the inner edge of the eye-wall clouds, while downward motions are found at the outer edge. This study demonstrates that the mesoscale vorticity method can use high-temporal-resolution data observed by Doppler radars to derive realistic vertical velocity and the radial flow of TCs. The vorticity temporal variations crucial to the accuracy of the vorticity method have to be derived from a high-temporal-frequency observing system such as state-of-the-art Doppler radars.
Peer Review:Refereed
Copyright Information:Copyright 2006 Royal Meteorological Society.
OpenSky citable URL: ark:/85065/d7vd704g
Publisher's Version: 10.1256/qj.04.77
  • J. Lee
  • Wen-chau Lee - NCAR/UCAR
  • A. Macdonald
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