Balanced Contributions to the Intensification of Hurricane Opal as Diagnosed from a GFDL Model Forecast

Möller, J. Dominique; Shapiro, Lloyd J.
July 2002
Monthly Weather Review;Jul2002, Vol. 130 Issue 7, p1866
Academic Journal
Stationary and propagating asymmetric features of atmospheric or oceanic origin near a hurricane are known to have an impact on its evolution. Although theoretical and observational studies have investigated the influence of such features on hurricane intensification, the degree to which either environmental or near-core region asymmetries of heating, friction, or potential vorticity (PV), in contrast to symmetric processes, weaken or intensify a hurricane has not been established. The present study uses the symmetric balanced model formulation of Eliassen and its extension to asymmetric balance (AB) to evaluate the impact of heating and friction, as well as eddy fluxes, on the intensification of Hurricane Opal of 1995 in a Geophysical Fluid Dynamics Laboratory (GFDL) model forecast. The diagnostics are made in cylindrical coordinates, with the symmetric vortex as the basic state and asymmetries as the environment. The application of AB, which explicitly includes the effects of asymmetric heating and friction, uses PV inversion to isolate the balanced asymmetric wind and height fields associated with the asymmetric PV anomaly. Work by Molinari and coworkers has evaluated the contributions of eddy heat and momentum fluxes associated with environmental features to the intensification of tropical storms. Their studies give some insights into the asymmetric influences on the symmetric secondary circulation and thus the evolution of the symmetric cyclone. Due to data limitations, however, they were not able to evaluate the contributions due to potentially important convective forcing. The GFDL model output includes convective heating and so allows the explicit evaluation of its effects. Persing et al. evaluated symmetric and asymmetric contributions to the intensification of Hurricane Opal of 1995 in a GFDL forecast. Their study diagnosed the various mean and eddy forcings in the tangential momentum budget, and (following the present study) calculated the balanced...


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