Typhoon kinematic and thermodynamic boundary layer structure from dropsonde composites

Jie Ming, Jun A. Zhang, Robert F. Rogers

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

11 Scopus citations


The data from 438 Global Positioning System dropsondes in six typhoons are analyzed to investigate the mean atmospheric boundary layer structure in a composite framework. Following a recent study on boundary layer height in Atlantic hurricanes, we aim to quantify characteristics of boundary layer height scales in Western Pacific typhoons including the inflow layer depth (hinflow), height of the maximum tangential wind speed (hvtmax), and thermodynamic mixed layer depth. In addition, the kinematic and thermodynamic boundary layer structures are compared between the dropsonde composites using data in typhoons and hurricanes. Our results show that similar to the hurricane composite, there is a separation between the kinematic and thermodynamic boundary layer heights in typhoons, with the thermodynamic boundary layer depth being much smaller than hinflow and hvtmax in the typhoon boundary layer. All three boundary layer height scales tend to decrease toward the stormcenter. Our results confirmthat the conceptual model of Zhang et al. (2011a) for boundary layer height variation is applicable to typhoon conditions. The kinematic boundary layer structure is generally similar between the typhoon and hurricane composites, but the typhoon composite shows a deeper inflow layer outside the eyewall than the hurricane composite. The thermodynamic structure of the typhoon boundary layer composite is warmer and moister outside the radius of maximum wind speed than the hurricane composite. This difference is attributed to different environmental conditions associated with typhoons compared to the hurricanes studied here.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)3158-3172
Number of pages15
JournalJournal of Geophysical Research
Issue number8
StatePublished - 2015

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geophysics
  • Oceanography
  • Forestry
  • Aquatic Science
  • Ecology
  • Water Science and Technology
  • Soil Science
  • Geochemistry and Petrology
  • Earth-Surface Processes
  • Atmospheric Science
  • Space and Planetary Science
  • Earth and Planetary Sciences (miscellaneous)
  • Palaeontology


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