Boundary-Layer Meteorology

, Volume 128, Issue 2, pp 173–189 | Cite as

Effects of Roll Vortices on Turbulent Fluxes in the Hurricane Boundary Layer

  • Jun A. Zhang
  • Kristina B. Katsaros
  • Peter G. Black
  • Susanne Lehner
  • Jeffrey R. French
  • William M. Drennan
Original Paper


Boundary-layer secondary circulations or ‘roll vortices’ can have a significant influence on the turbulent exchange of momentum, sensible heat and moisture throughout the hurricane boundary layer. In this study, analyses of data from a WP-3D aircraft of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) are presented. As part of the Coupled Boundary Layer Air-Sea Transfer (CBLAST)-hurricane experiment sponsored through the Office of Naval Research and NOAA’s annual hurricane research program, flights were conducted to investigate energy exchange across the air–sea interface. We present the first in-situ aircraft-based observations of rolls in the hurricane boundary layer and investigate their influence on energy and momentum exchange. The rolls detected in Hurricane Isidore (year 2002) have a characteristic wavelength of about 900 m, in good agreement with analyses of data from a synthetic aperture radar image captured by the Canadian Space Agency’s RADARSAT satellite in the same storm. Our analyses of the airborne data suggest that roll vortices may be a significant factor modulating the air–sea momentum exchange.


Air–sea interaction Hurricane boundary layer Roll vortices Turbulent fluxes 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2008

Authors and Affiliations

  • Jun A. Zhang
    • 1
    • 2
  • Kristina B. Katsaros
    • 3
    • 4
  • Peter G. Black
    • 2
    • 5
  • Susanne Lehner
    • 6
  • Jeffrey R. French
    • 7
  • William M. Drennan
    • 1
  1. 1.Rosenstiel School of Marine and Atmospheric Science, Division of Applied Marine PhysicsUniversity of MiamiMiamiUSA
  2. 2.Hurricane Research DivisionNational Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), Atlantic Oceanographic and Meteorological Laboratory (AOML)MiamiUSA
  3. 3.National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), Atlantic Oceanographic and Meteorological Laboratory (AOML)MiamiUSA
  4. 4.FreelandUSA
  5. 5.Science Applications International Corporation at Naval Research LaboratoryMontereyUSA
  6. 6.German Aerospace Centre (DLR)OberpfaffenhofenGermany
  7. 7.Department of Atmospheric ScienceUniversity of WyomingLaramieUSA

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