Publication Abstracts

Mrowiec et al. 2016

Mrowiec, A.A., O.M. Pauluis, and F. Zhang, 2016: Isentropic analysis of a simulated hurricane. J. Atmos. Sci., 73, no. 5, 1857-1870, doi:10.1175/JAS-D-15-0063.1.

Hurricanes, like many other atmospheric flows, are associated with turbulent motions over a wide range of scales. Here we adapt a new technique based on the isentropic analysis of convective motions to study the thermodynamic structure of the overturning circulation in hurricane simulations. This approach separates the vertical mass transport in terms of the equivalent potential temperature of air parcels. In doing so, one separates the rising air parcels at high entropy from the subsiding air at low entropy. This technique filters out oscillatory motions associated with gravity waves and separates convective overturning from the secondary circulation.

This approach here is applied to study the flow of an idealized hurricane simulation with the the Weather Research and Forecasting (WRF) model. The isentropic circulation for a hurricane exhibits similar characteristics to that of moist convection, with a maximum mass transport near the surface associated with a shallow convection and entrainment. There are also important differences. For instance, ascent in the eyewall can be readily identified in the isentropic analysis as an upward mass flux of air with unusually high equivalent potential temperature. The isentropic circulation is further compared here to the Eulerian secondary circulation of the simulated hurricane to show that the mass transport in the isentropic circulation is much larger than the one in secondary circulation. This difference can be directly attributed to the mass transport by convection in the outer rain band and confirms that, even for a strongly organized flow like a hurricane, most of the atmospheric overturning is tied to the smaller scales.

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BibTeX Citation

  author={Mrowiec, A. A. and Pauluis, O. M. and Zhang, F.},
  title={Isentropic analysis of a simulated hurricane},
  journal={J. Atmos. Sci.},

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RIS Citation

ID  - mr05000f
AU  - Mrowiec, A. A.
AU  - Pauluis, O. M.
AU  - Zhang, F.
PY  - 2016
TI  - Isentropic analysis of a simulated hurricane
JA  - J. Atmos. Sci.
VL  - 73
IS  - 5
SP  - 1857
EP  - 1870
DO  - 10.1175/JAS-D-15-0063.1
ER  -

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