The formation of moist vortices and tropical cyclones in idealized simulations

AMS Citation:
Davis, C. A., 2015: The formation of moist vortices and tropical cyclones in idealized simulations. Journal of the Atmospheric Sciences, 72, 3499-3516, doi:10.1175/JAS-D-15-0027.1.
Resource Type:article
Title:The formation of moist vortices and tropical cyclones in idealized simulations
Abstract: The upscale aggregation of convection is used to understand the emergence of rotating, coherent midtropospheric structures and the subsequent process of tropical cyclone formation. The Cloud Model, version 1 (CM1), is integrated on an f plane with uniform sea surface temperature (SST) and prescribed uniform background flow. Deep convection is maintained by surface fluxes from an ocean with uniform surface temperature. Convection begins to organize simultaneously into moist and dry midtropospheric patches after 10 days. After 20 days, the patches begin to rotate on relatively small scales. Moist cyclonic vortices merge, eventually forming a single dominant vortex that subsequently forms a tropical cyclone on a realistic time scale of about 5 days. Radiation that interacts with clouds and water vapor aids in forming coherent rotating structures. Using the path to genesis provided by the aggregated solution, the relationship between thermodynamic changes within the vortex and changes in the character of convection prior to genesis is explored. Consistent with previous studies, the approach to saturation within the midtropospheric vortex accelerates the genesis process. A novel result is that, prior to genesis, downdrafts become widespread and somewhat stronger. The increased downdraft mass flux leads to stronger and larger surface cold pools. Shear-cold pool dynamics promote the organization of lower-tropospheric updrafts that spin up the surface vortex. It is inferred that the observed inconsistency between convective intensity and thermodynamic stabilization prior to genesis results from sampling limitations of the observations wherein the important cold pool gradients are unresolved.
Peer Review:Refereed
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OpenSky citable URL: ark:/85065/d7qv3nqp
Publisher's Version: 10.1175/JAS-D-15-0027.1
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