Wind profiles in tropical cyclone stratiform rainbands over land

Shaunna L. Donaher, Bruce A. Albrecht, Ming Fang, William Brown

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Scopus citations


Observations of 14 stratiform periods in outer tropical cyclone rainbands are used to evaluate wind structure using a velocity-azimuth display (VAD) technique applied to KAMX (Miami) Weather Surveillance Radar-1988 Doppler (WSR-88D) data. These 14 cases occurred over land in southern Florida from Tropical Storm Fay and Hurricanes Gustav and Ike during 2008. Profiles show a maximum horizontal wind speed between 1000 and 1500min height, with occasional evidence of a secondary horizontal wind maximum near 3500-5000 m. Storm-relative wind components are calculated, and radial wind profiles show a mean transition from radial inflow at low levels to radial outflow around 2500-3000-m altitude. The radial inflow maximum is around 500 m, while maximum outflow is more variable. These profile characteristics are consistent with previous wind observations in rainbands over land and water. Changes in wind structure within one 4-h period are examined, with changes seen linked to the environmental influence on the rainband. All rainbands show a logarithmic wind speed decrease below 200 m. This layer is studied in detail using a log-wind fit method and a ratio method to calculate aerodynamic roughness length. Much lower ratios of surface to higher-level winds were found than in previous studies over open oceans. Another significant finding of this work is the lack of a constant aerodynamic roughness length despite similar storm wind profiles. These results are useful in broadening the understanding of low-level impacts of landfalling rainbands far from the storm center.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)3933-3949
Number of pages17
JournalMonthly Weather Review
Issue number11
StatePublished - Nov 2013

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Atmospheric Science


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