High-resolution ensemble HFV3 forecasts of Hurricane Michael (2018): Rapid intensification in shear

Andrew T. Hazelton, Xuejin Zhang, Sundararaman Gopalakrishnan, William Ramstrom, Frank Marks, Jun A. Zhang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Scopus citations

Abstract

The FV3GFS is the current operational Global Forecast System (GFS) at the National Centers for Environmental Prediction (NCEP), which combines a finite-volume cubed sphere dynamical core (FV3) and GFS physics. In this study, FV3GFS is used to gain understanding of rapid intensification (RI) of tropical cyclones (TCs) in shear. The analysis demonstrates the importance of TC structure in a complex system like Hurricane Michael, which intensified to a category 5 hurricane over the Gulf of Mexico despite over 20 kt (10 m s21) of vertical wind shear. Michael's RI is examined using a global-nest FV3GFS ensemble with the nest at 3-km resolution. The ensemble shows a range of peak intensities from 77 to 159 kt (40-82 m s21). Precipitation symmetry, vortex tilt, moisture, and other aspects of Michael's evolution are compared through composites of stronger and weaker members. The 850-200-hPa vertical shear is 22 kt (11 m s21) in the mean of both strong and weak members during the early stage. Tilt and moisture are two distinguishing factors between strong and weak members. The relationship between vortex tilt and humidification is complex, and other studies have shown both are important for sheared intensification. Here, it is shown that tilt reduction leads to upshear humidification and is thus a driving factor for intensification. A stronger initial vortex and early evolution of the vortex also appear to be the key to members that are able to resist the sheared environment.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2009-2032
Number of pages24
JournalMonthly Weather Review
Volume148
Issue number5
DOIs
StatePublished - May 2020

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Atmospheric Science

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