Interaction between dynamics and thermodynamics during tropical cyclogenesis
- Physics Department and Geophysical Research Center, New Mexico Institute of Mining and Technology, Socorro, New Mexico 87801, USA
Abstract. Observational data of tropical disturbances are analyzed in order to investigate tropical cyclogenesis. Data from 37 cases observed during three field campaigns are used to investigate possible correlations between various dynamic and thermodynamic variables. The results show that a strong mid-level vortex is necessary to promote spin up of the low-level vortex in a tropical cyclone. This paper presents a theory on the mechanism of this process. The mid-level vortex creates a thermodynamic environment conducive to convection with a more bottom-heavy mass flux profile that exhibits a strong positive vertical gradient in a shallow layer near the surface. Mass continuity then implies that the strongest horizontal mass and vorticity convergence occurs near the surface. This results in low-level vortex intensification.
For two of the disturbances that were observed during several consecutive days, evolution of the dynamics and thermodynamics is documented. One of these disturbances, Karl, was observed in the period before it intensified into a tropical storm; the other one, Gaston, was observed after it unexpectedly decayed from a tropical storm to a tropical disturbance. A hypothesis on its decay is presented.