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Meteorology and Atmospheric Physics

, Volume 117, Issue 1–2, pp 5–23 | Cite as

Surface pressure profiles, vortex structure and initialization for hurricane prediction. Part I: analysis of observed and synthetic structures

  • Yimin Ma
  • Menas Kafatos
  • Noel E. Davidson
Original Paper

Abstract

Without detailed reconnaissance, consistent representation of hurricane-like vortices in initial conditions for operational prediction and research simulations still remains elusive. It is thus often necessary, particularly for high-resolution intensity forecasting, to use synthetic tropical cyclone circulations to initialize forecast models. Variants on three commonly used surface pressure profiles are evaluated for possible use. Enhancements to the original profiles are proposed that allows definition of both the inner-core and outer circulation. The latter improvement creates a vortex more consistent with the estimated outer structure which sometimes appears to be crucial to the evolving intensity of the storm. It also allows smoother merging of the synthetic vortex with the environment. Comparisons of the profiles against (a) structure estimates, (b) each other, (c) structures obtained via conservation of angular momentum, and (d) observed vorticity structures, suggest that a new enhanced Fujita profile best represents real TC structures. Student-t tests indicate that improved fitting to the observations is statistically significant.

Keywords

Vorticity Tropical Cyclone Vortex Structure Central Pressure Wind Profile 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

Abbreviations

AAM

Absolute angular momentum

ACW

Amended Chan and Williams (1987) surface pressure profile

CE97

Carr and Elsberry (1997) surface pressure profile

CP

Tropical cyclone central pressure

EF

Enhanced Fujita (1952) surface pressure profile

EH

Enhanced Holland (1980) surface pressure profile

EXBT

Extended best track data set ebtrk_1988-2005 (Pennington et al. 2000)

F52

Fujita (1952) surface pressure profile

H80

Holland (1980) surface pressure profile

NWP

Numerical weather prediction

RMW

Radius of maximum wind

R34

Radius of 34-knot wind

R50

Radius of 50-knot wind

R64

Radius of 64-knot wind

ROCI

Radius of the outer closed isobar

POCI

Pressure of the outer closed isobar

SLP

Surface level pressure

TC

Tropical cyclone

TCF

The F52 profile applied in TC-LAPS

TCH

The H80 profile applied in TC-LAPS

TC-LAPS

Australian Tropical Cyclone Limited Area Prediction System

VS

Vortex specification

VMAX

Maximum wind

V34

34-knot wind

V50

50-knot wind

V64

64-knot wind

A

Parameter used in H80 and EH profiles

B

Parameter used in H80 and EH profiles

BTC

Parameter used in TCH profile

C

Radius-dependent parameter used in EH profile

D

Parameter for TCF profile

M

Absolute angular momentum (AAM) at radius where the symmetric tangential wind of the TC is zero

Ma

Absolute angular momentum (AAM)

P

Normalised pressure

a

Parameter for CE97 profile

b

Parameter for ACW profile

f

Coriolis parameter

f0

Coriolis parameter at the TC centre

p

Pressure at radius r

pc

Central pressure (CP)

p

Environmental pressure

r

Radius

r0

Measure of hurricane core size used in TCF profile or a radius in CE97 profile where the symmetric tangential wind of the TC is zero

rcm

Radius of cyclostrophic maximum wind

rm

Radius of maximum wind (RMW)

rmp

Radius of maximum pressure gradient

r3

Radius parameter used in TCF profile at which the radial pressure gradient is zero

rs

Radial scale used in CE97 profile

roci

Radius of the outer closed isobar (ROCI)

v

Tangential wind speed

vc

Cyclostrophic wind

vcm

Cyclostrophic maximum wind

vg

Gradient wind

vm

Maximum wind (VMAX)

β

Parameter used in EH profile

ε

Parameter used in EF profile

ζ

Vertical vorticity

ζr

Relative vorticity component of vertical vorticity

λ

Parameter used in EF profile

π1,2

Parameter used in EH profile

ρ

Air density

Notes

Acknowledgments

The study was partially supported by the Virginia Access project, USA. We are deeply grateful to Dr Mark DeMaria and his Team for developing the valuable best track data set used in this study and for making it freely available. Thanks are also extended to our CAWCR colleagues, Drs. J. Kepert, P. Steinle and H. Zhu for valuable comments on an earlier version of the manuscript. The authors also thank Dr. John Knaff for his thoughtful comments which greatly improved the manuscript.

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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.School of Computational SciencesGeorge Mason UniversityFairfaxUSA
  2. 2.Centre for Australian Weather and Climate Research, CAWCR, A partnership between CSIRO and the Bureau of MeteorologyMelbourneAustralia

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