Diurnal MCSs Precede the Genesis of Tropical Cyclone Mora (2017): The Role of Convectively Forced Gravity Waves

Xingchao Chen, L. Ruby Leung, Zhe Feng, Qiu Yang

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A novel high-resolution regional reanalysis is used to investigate the mesoscale processes that preceded the formation of Tropical Cyclone (TC) Mora (2017). Both satellite observations and the regional reanalysis show early morning mesoscale convective systems (MCSs) persistently initiated and organized in the downshear quadrant of the preexisting tropical disturbance a few days prior to the genesis of TC Mora. The diurnal MCSs gradually enhanced the meso-a-scale vortex near the center of the preexisting tropical disturbance through vortex stretching, providing a vorticity-rich and moist environment for the following burst of deep convection and enhancement of the meso-b-scale vortex. The regional reanalysis shows that the gravity waves that radiated from afternoon convection over the northern coast of the Bay of Bengal might play an important role in modulating the diurnal cycle of pregenesis MCSs. The diurnal convectively forced gravity waves increased the tropospheric stability, reduced the column saturation fraction, and suppressed deep convection within the preexisting tropical disturbance from noon to evening. A similar quasi-diurnal cycle of organized deep convection prior to TC genesis has also been observed over other basins. However, modeling studies are needed to conclusively demonstrate the relationships between the gravity waves and pregenesis diurnal MCSs. Also, whether diurnal gravity waves play a similar role in modulating the pregenesis deep convection in other TCs is worth future investigations. SIGNIFICANCE STATEMENT: Tropical cyclogenesis is a process by which a less organized weather system in the tropics develops into a tropical cyclone (TC). Observations indicate that thunderstorms occurring prior to the tropical cyclogenesis often show a distinct quasi-diurnal cycle, while the related physical mechanisms are still unclear. In this study, we used a novel high-resolution dataset to investigate the diurnal thunderstorms occurring prior to the genesis of TC Mora (2017). We find that the pregenesis diurnal thunderstorms played a crucial role in spinning up the circulation of the atmosphere and provided a favorable environment for the rapid formation of Mora. It is likely that gravity waves emitted by afternoon thunderstorms over the inland region were responsible for regulating the diurnal variation of pregenesis thunderstorms over the ocean.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1463-1479
Number of pages17
JournalJournal of the Atmospheric Sciences
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jul 2023

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Atmospheric Science

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