RESEARCH ARTICLE


Toward an Understanding of Tropical Cyclone Formation with a Nonhydrostatic, Mesoscale-Convection-Resolving Model§



Masanori Yamasaki*
Research Institute for Global Change, Japan Agency for Marine-Earth Science and Technology, 3173-25 Showa-machi, Kanazawa-ku, Yokohama 236-0001, Japan.


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© 2013 Masanori Yamasaki.;

open-access license: This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International Public License (CC-BY 4.0), a copy of which is available at: https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/legalcode. This license permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.

* Address correspondence to this author at the Research Institute for Global Change, Japan Agency for Marine-Earth Science and Technology, 3173-25 Showa-machi, Kanazawa-ku, Yokohama 236-0001, Japan.


Abstract

This paper describes results from numerical experiments which have been made toward a better understanding of tropical cyclone formation. This study uses a nonhydrostatic version of the author’s mesoscale-convection-resolving model that was developed in the 1980s to improve paramerization schemes of moist convection. In this study the horizontal grid size is taken to be 20 km in an area of 6,000 km x 3,000 km, and a non-uniform coarse grid is used in two areas to its north and south.

Results from two numerical experiments are presented; one (case 1) without any environmental flow, and the other (case 2) with an easterly flow without low-level vertical shear. Three circular buoyancy perturbations are placed in the west-east direction at the initial time. Convection is initiated in the imposed latently unstable (positive CAPE) area. In both cases, a vortex with a pressure low is formed, and two band-shaped convective systems are formed to the north and the south of the vortex center. The vortex and two convective systems are oriented in the westsouthwest – eastnortheast direction, and their horizontal scales are nearly 2,000 km.

In case 1, the band-shaped convective system on the southern side is stronger, and winds are stronger just to its south. In contrast, in case 2, the northern convective system is stronger, and winds are stronger just to its north. Therefore, the distributions of the equivalent potential temperature in the boundary layer and latent instability (positive buoyancy of the rising air) are also quite different between cases 1 and 2. The TC formation processes in these different cases are discussed, with an emphasis on the importance of examining the time change of latent instability field.

Keywords: Buoyancy, Frictional Flow, Latent Instability, Mesoscale-Convection-Resolving Model, Mesoscale Organized Convection, Nonhydrostatic Model, Rainbands, Tropical Cyclone Formation.