This study explores the spatial and temporal changes in tropical cyclone (TC) thermodynamic and dynamic structures before, near, and during rapid intensification (RI) under different vertical wind shear conditions through four sets of convection-permitting ensemble simulations. A composite analysis of TC structural evolution is performed by matching the RI onset time of each member. Without background flow, the axisymmetric TC undergoes a gradual strengthening of the inner-core vorticity and warm core throughout the simulation. In the presence of moderate environmental shear (5-6 m s-1), both the location and magnitude of the asymmetries in boundary layer radial flow, relative humidity, and vertical motion evolve with the tilt vector throughout the simulation. A budget analysis indicates that tilting is crucial to maintaining the midlevel vortex while stretching and vertical advection are responsible for the upper-level vorticity generation before RI when strong asymmetries arise. Two warm anomalies are observed before the RI onset when the vortex column is tilted. When approaching the RI onset, these two warm anomalies gradually merge into one. Overall, the most symmetric vortex structure is found near the RI onset. Moderately sheared TCs experience an adjustment period from a highly asymmetric structure with updrafts concentrated at the down-tilt side before RI to a more axisymmetric structure during RI as the eyewall updrafts develop. This adjustment period near the RI onset, however, is found to be the least active period for deep convection. TC development under a smaller environmental shear (2.5 m s-1) condition displays an intermediate evolution between ensemble experiments with no background flow and with moderate shear (5-6 m s-1).
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Atmospheric Science