Ice Water Content as a Precursor to Tropical Cyclone Rapid Intensification

S. N. Wu, B. J. Soden, G. J. Alaka

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


This study examines how the structure and amount of cloud ice water content are related to rates of tropical cyclone (TC) intensification using CloudSat profiling radar measurements and simulations from the Hurricane Weather Research and Forecasting (HWRF) model. Observational studies have demonstrated the signal of TC intensification in the passive satellite measurements of frozen water concentration. However, the vertical and horizontal resolution of passive satellite observations are limited. CloudSat measurements and HWRF simulations provide high-resolution data sets of ice water content to better understand its relationship with the rate of TC intensification. It is found that rapidly intensifying TCs have larger ice water content compared to TCs with slower intensification rates. Similar results are obtained even after accounting for the effect of initial TC intensity. Such precursors of rapidly intensifying TCs may be used to better understand and improve the prediction of TC intensification.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere2020GL089669
JournalGeophysical Research Letters
Issue number21
StatePublished - Nov 16 2020


  • forecast model
  • hurricane
  • rapid intensification
  • satellite
  • tropical cyclone

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geophysics
  • Earth and Planetary Sciences(all)


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