A highly configurable vortex initialization method for tropical cyclones

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9 Scopus citations


Ahighly configurable vortex initialization methodology has been constructed in order to permit manipulation of the initial vortex structure in numerical models of tropical cyclones. By using distinct specifications of the flow in the boundary layer and free atmosphere, an array of parameters is available to modify the structure. A nonlinear similarity model that solves the steady-state, height-dependent equations for a neutrally stratified, axisymmetric vortex is solved for the boundary layer flow. Above the boundary layer, a steady-state, moist-neutral, hydrostatic and gradient wind balancedmodel is used to generate the angular momentum distribution in the free atmosphere. In addition, an unbalanced mass-conserving secondary circulation is generated through the assumption of conservation of mass and angular momentum above the boundary layer. Numerical simulations are conducted using a full-physics mesoscale model to explore the sensitivity of the vortex evolution to different prescriptions of the initial vortex. Dynamical adjustment is found to be dominant in the early evolution of the simulations, thereby masking any sensitivity to initial changes in the secondary circulation and boundary layer structure. The adjustment time can be significantly reduced by arbitrarily enhancing the moisture in the eyewall region.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)3556-3575
Number of pages20
JournalMonthly Weather Review
Issue number10
StatePublished - 2013


  • Model initialization
  • Numerical weather prediction/forecasting
  • Tropical cyclones

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Atmospheric Science


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