Role of eyewall and rainband eddy forcing in tropical cyclone intensification

Ping Zhu, Bryce Tyner, Jun A. Zhang, Eric Aligo, Sundararaman Gopalakrishnan, Frank D. Marks, Avichal Mehra, Vijay Tallapragada

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

14 Scopus citations


While turbulence is commonly regarded as a flow feature pertaining to the planetary boundary layer (PBL), intense turbulent mixing generated by cloud processes also exists above the PBL in the eyewall and rainbands of a tropical cyclone (TC). The in-cloud turbulence above the PBL is intimately involved in the development of convective elements in the eyewall and rainbands and consists of a part of asymmetric eddy forcing for the evolution of the primary and secondary circulations of a TC. In this study, we show that the Hurricane Weather Research and Forecasting (HWRF) model, one of the operational models used for TC prediction, is unable to generate appropriate sub-grid-scale (SGS) eddy forcing above the PBL due to a lack of consideration of intense turbulent mixing generated by the eyewall and rainband clouds. Incorporating an in-cloud turbulent-mixing parameterization in the vertical turbulent-mixing scheme notably improves the HWRF model's skills in predicting rapid changes in intensity for several past major hurricanes. While the analyses show that the SGS eddy forcing above the PBL is only about one-fifth of the model-resolved eddy forcing, the simulated TC vortex inner-core structure, secondary overturning circulation, and the model-resolved eddy forcing exhibit a substantial dependence on the parameterized SGS eddy processes. The results highlight the importance of eyewall and rainband SGS eddy forcing to numerical prediction of TC intensification, including rapid intensification at the current resolution of operational models.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)14289-14310
Number of pages22
JournalAtmospheric Chemistry and Physics
Issue number22
StatePublished - Nov 27 2019

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Atmospheric Science


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