The dynamics and predictability of the rapid intensification (RI) of Hurricane Harvey (2017) were examined using convection-permitting initialization, analysis, and prediction from a cycling ensemble Kalman filter (EnKF) that assimilated all-sky infrared radiances from the Advanced Baseline Imager on GOES-16. The EnKF analyses were able to evolve the various scales of the radiance fields associated with Harvey close to those observed, including those associated with scattered individual convective cells before the onset of rapid intensification (RI) and the organized vortex-scale convective system during and after RI. This was true for more than 3 days of a continuous assimilation cycling. Deterministic forecasts initialized from the EnKF analyses captured the rapidly deepening intensity of Harvey more than 24 h prior to its onset. To explore the predictability of Harvey's intensity during RI, ensemble probabilistic forecasts and sensitivity analyses were conducted. It was found that significant ensemble spread growth was induced by initial perturbations individually in either the wind or moisture fields. The nonlinear interactions between wind and moisture perturbations further limited the predictability of the intensification process of Harvey by increasing the uncertainty in the simulated wind and moisture distributions and modifying the convective activity and its feedback on vortex flow. This study highlights both the importance of better initializing the dynamic and moisture state variables simultaneously and the potential contribution of satellite all-sky radiance assimilation on constraining them and their associated convective activity that impacts RI of tropical cyclones.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Atmospheric Science