Using satellite observations to evaluate the relationships between ice condensate, latent heat release, and tropical cyclone intensification in a mesoscale model

Shun Nan Wu, Brian J. Soden, Yoshiaki Miyamoto, David S. Nolan, Stefan A. Buehler

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

This study examines the relationship between frozen hydrometeors and latent heating in model simulations and evaluates the capability of the Weather Research and Forecasting (WRF) Model to reproduce the observed frozen hydrometeors and their relationship to tropical cyclone (TC) intensification. Previous modeling studies have emphasized the importance of both the amount and location of latent heating inmodulating the evolution of TCintensity.However, the lack of observations limits a full understanding of its importance in the real atmosphere. Idealized simulations usingWRF indicate that latent heating is strongly correlated to the amount of ice water content, suggesting that ice water content can serve as an observable proxy for latent heat release in themid- to upper troposphere.Based on this result, satellite observations are used to create storm-centered composites of ice water path as a function of TC intensity. The model reasonably captures the vertical and horizontal distribution of icewater content and its dependence upon TC intensity, with differences typically less than 20%. The model also captures the signature of increased ice water content for intensifying TCs, suggesting that observations of ice water content provide a useful diagnostic for understanding and evaluating model simulations of TC intensification.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)113-129
Number of pages17
JournalMonthly Weather Review
Volume149
Issue number1
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2020 Dec
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • Hurricanes/typhoons
  • Model evaluation/performance
  • Satellite observations
  • Tropical cyclones

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Atmospheric Science

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