Investigating Axisymmetric and Asymmetric Signals of Secondary Eyewall Formation Using Observations-Based Modeling of the Tropical Cyclone Boundary Layer

Chau Lam Yu, Anthony C. Didlake, Jeffrey D. Kepert, Fuqing Zhang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

This study examines axisymmetric and asymmetric aspects of secondary eyewall formation (SEF) in tropical cyclones (TCs) by applying a nonlinear boundary layer model to tangential wind composites of observed TCs with and without SEF. SEF storms were further analyzed at times prior to and after SEF, as defined by the emergence of a secondary maximum in axisymmetric tangential wind. The model is used to investigate the steady-state boundary layer response to the free-tropospheric pressure forcing derived from observed tangential wind fields. The axisymmetric response to the Post-SEF wind field displayed a secondary updraft maximum associated with a mature secondary eyewall; the model correctly produced no secondary updraft for non-SEF storms. The Pre-SEF response also exhibited a secondary updraft associated with an incipient secondary eyewall largely due to the broadened outer tangential wind field that commonly precedes SEF events. The asymmetric wind fields and model response were analyzed relative to the 850–200 hPa environmental wind shear vector. In Pre-SEF storms, the tangential wind field displayed a broadened tangential wind structure in the downshear quadrants. The boundary layer response shows a downwind shift toward the left-of-shear quadrants, exhibiting the clearest secondary maxima in updrafts, tangential wind, and radial inflow. This left-of-shear response was the leading contributor to the secondary eyewall signals in the Pre-SEF axisymmetric response. Sensitivity analyses confirmed the robustness of these asymmetric signals. These findings suggest that enhanced tangential wind and boundary layer updrafts in the left-of-shear sectors may be early indicators and critical features of SEF in sheared TCs.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere2020JD034027
JournalJournal of Geophysical Research: Atmospheres
Volume126
Issue number16
DOIs
StatePublished - Aug 2021

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Atmospheric Science
  • Geophysics
  • Earth and Planetary Sciences (miscellaneous)
  • Space and Planetary Science

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