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Spiral rainband in a numerically simulated tropical cyclone

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Spiral rainband is a prominent structure of tropical cyclone. Though its forming mechanism, vortex Rossby wave theory, has been widely accepted in recent years, its internal structural features are still not well known. The spiral rainband in the severe tropical storm Kammuri (2002), which caused heavy rainfall in southeast China, is simulated using the mesoscale model MM5 (V3). Results show that the simulated spiral rainband propagates azimuthally at a speed close to that of vortex Rossby wave in theory, and is accompanied with energy dispersion in the radial direction. The structural features of simulated spiral rainband are analyzed with the high-resolution model output including the full physical process. Positive vorticity, ascending motion, horizontal momentum and so on are highly concentrated in the spiral rainband. The convergent moisture of spiral rainband comes mostly from the planetary boundary layer under 1 km. Airflow from the outside of spiral rainband is convective instability, which can provide instability energy for convection development. However, the atmospheric stratification in the inside of spiral rainband is neutral, implying that the instability energy has been released. There is a mesoscale strong wind band just near the spiral rainband in the outer side with a maximum wind speed exceeding 30 m/s, which results from the pressure force acceleration when the air flows into the spiral rainband along the gradient of pressure.

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Correspondence to Peijun Zhu.

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Zhu, P., Zheng, Y., Wang, H. et al. Spiral rainband in a numerically simulated tropical cyclone. Chin.Sci.Bull. 50, 800–808 (2005).

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  • tropical cyclone
  • spiral rainband
  • numerical simulation
  • vortex Rossby wave