Scale interactions during the formation of typhoon Irving

Elizabeth A. Ritchie, Greg J. Holland

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The development of Typhoon Irving is investigated using a variety of data, including special research aircraft data from the Tropical Cyclone Motion (TCM-92) experiment, objective analyses, satellite data, and traditional surface and sounding data. The development process is treated as a dry-adiabatic vortex dynamics problem, and it is found that environmental and mesoscale dynamics mutually enhance each other in a cooperative interaction during cyclone formation. Synoptic-scale interactions result in the evolution of the hostile environment toward more favorable conditions for storm development. Mesoscale interactions with the low-level, large-scale circulations and with other midlevel, mesoscale features result in development of vorticity in the midlevels and enhancement of the low-level vorticity associated with the developing surface cyclone. Multiple developments of mesoscale convective systems after the storm reaches tropical depression strength suggests both an increase in low-level confluence and a tendency toward recurrent development of associated mesoscale convective vortices. This is observed in both aircraft data and satellite imagery where subsequent interactions, including mergers with the low-level, tropical depression vortex, are observed. A contour dynamics experiment suggests that the movement of mesoscale convective systems in satellite imagery corresponds well to the movement of their associated midlevel vortices. Results from a simple baroclinic experiment show that the midlevel vortices affect the large-scale, low-level circulation in two ways: 1) initially, interactions between midlevel vortices produce a combined vortex of greater depth; 2) interaction between midlevel vortices and the low-level circulation produces a development downward of the midlevel vorticity. This strengthens the surface vortex and develops a more cohesive vortex that extends from the surface through the midtroposphere.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1377-1396
Number of pages20
JournalMonthly Weather Review
Issue number7
Publication statusPublished - Jul 1997
Externally publishedYes

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