THE IMPACT OF UPPER-LEVEL PROCESSES ON THE INTENSITY AND STRUCTURAL CHANGES OF HURRICANE SANDY (2012)
Shin, Jung Hoon
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The first part of this study examines the relative roles of frontogenesis and tropopause undulation in determining the intensity and structural changes of Hurricane Sandy (2012) using a high-resolution cloud-resolving model. A 138-h simulation reproduces Sandy’s four distinct development stages: (i) rapid intensification, (ii) weakening, (iii) steady maximum surface wind but with large continued sea-level pressure (SLP) falls, and (iv) re-intensification. Results show typical correlations between intensity changes, sea-surface temperature and vertical wind shear during the first two stages. The large SLP falls during the last two stages are mostly caused by Sandy’s moving northward into lower-tropopause regions associated with an eastward-propagating midlatitude trough, where the associated lower-stratospheric warm air wraps into the storm and its surrounding areas. The steady maximum surface wind occurs because of the widespread SLP falls with weak pressure gradients lacking significant inward advection of absolute angular momentum (AAM). Meanwhile, there is a continuous frontogenesis in the outer region during the last three stages. Cyclonic inward advection of AAM along each frontal rainband accounts for the continued expansion of the tropical-storm-force wind and structural changes, while deep convection in the eyewall and merging of the final two survived frontal rainbands generate a spiraling jet in Sandy’s northwestern quadrant, leading to its re-intensification prior to landfall. The physical, kinematic and dynamic aspects of an upper-level outflow layer and its possible impact on the re-intensification of Sandy are examined in the second part of this study. Above the outflow layer isentropes are tilted downward with radius as a result of the development of deep convection and an approaching upper-level trough, causing weak subsidence. Its maximum outward radial velocity is located above the cloud top, so the outflow channel experiences cloud-induced long-wave cooling. Because Sandy has two distinct convective regions (an eyewall and a frontal rainband), it has multiple outflow layers, with the eyewall’s outflow layer located above that of the frontal rainband. During the re-intensification stage, the eyewall’s outflow layer interacts with a jet stream ahead of the upper-level trough axis. Because of the presence of inertial instability on the anticyclonic side of the jet stream and symmetric instability in the inner region of the outflow layer, Sandy’s secondary circulation intensifies. Its re-intensification ceases when these instabilities disappear. The relationship between the intensity of the secondary circulation and dynamic instabilities of the outflow layer suggests that the re-intensification occurs in response to these instabilities. Additionally, it is verified that the long-wave cooling in the outflow layer helps induce symmetric instability by reducing static stability.