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Observed Structure of Tropical Cyclone Inner Core Precipitation Features

Anthony C. Didlake, Jr.
Department of Atmospheric Sciences, University of Washington

The Hurricane Rainband and Intensity Change Experiment (RAINEX) was a multi-platform field campaign that investigated Atlantic-basin tropical cyclones during the historic 2005 season. The aim was to increase the understanding of tropical cyclone intensity change due to interactions between the storm’s inner core and rainbands. Here we explore the unique dataset collected by the NCAR ELDORA radar within the inner core of Hurricane Rita during the most intense stages of its lifetime. High-resolution observations document the detailed kinematic and reflectivity structures of Rita’s inner core rainbands and mature secondary eyewall. Active convection in the rainbands exhibited a variety of convective-scale circulation patterns that were organized according to the distance from the storm center and the environmental vertical wind shear. As convective cells collapsed into stratiform precipitation, the rainbands developed a mesoscale circulation that entrained midlevel environmental air into the storm’s inner core. Rita subsequently developed a secondary eyewall in which vortex-scale and convective-scale dynamics played equally important roles in developing its distinct structure. These features may play significant and sometimes contrasting roles in determining the intensity of tropical cyclones.  

 

Thursday, 16 February 2012, 3:30 PM

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Wednesday, February 8, 2012
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Thursday, February 16, 2012