This study investigates the asymmetric distribution of hurricane boundary layer height scales in a storm-motion-relative framework using global positioning system (GPS) dropsonde observations. Data from a total of 1916 dropsondes collected within four times the radius of maximum wind speed of 37 named hurricanes over the Atlantic basin from 1998 to 2015 are analyzed in the composite framework. Motion-relative quadrant mean composite analyses show that both the kinematic and thermodynamic boundary layer height scales tend to increase with increasing radius in all four motion-relative quadrants. It is also found that the thermodynamic mixed layer depth and height of maximum tangential wind speed are within the inflow layer in all motion-relative quadrants. The inflow layer depth and height of the maximum tangential wind are both found to be deeper in the two front quadrants, and they are largest in the right-front quadrant. The difference in the thermodynamic mixed layer depth between the front and back quadrants is smaller than that in the kinematic boundary layer height. The thermodynamic mixed layer is shallowest in the right-rear quadrant, which may be due to the cold wake phenomena. The boundary layer height derived using the critical Richardson number (Ric) method shows a similar front-back asymmetry as the kinematic boundary layer height.
- Atmospheric boundary layer
- Storm motion
- Tropical cyclone
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Environmental Science (miscellaneous)