Impact of stratiform rainband heating on the tropical cyclone wind field in idealized simulations

Chau Lam Yu, Anthony C. Didlake

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14 Scopus citations


Using idealized simulations, we examine the storm-scale wind field response of a dry, hurricane-like vortex to prescribed stratiform heating profiles that mimic tropical cyclone (TC) spiral rainbands. These profiles were stationary with respect to the storm center to represent the diabatic forcing imposed by a quasi-stationary rainband complex. The first profile was typical of stratiform precipitation with heating above and cooling below the melting level. The vortex response included a mesoscale descending inflow and a midlevel tangential jet, consistent with previous studies. An additional response was an inward-spiraling low-level updraft radially inside the rainband heating. The second profile was a modified stratiform heating structure derived from observations and consisted of a diagonal dipole of heating and cooling. The same features were found with stronger magnitudes and larger vertical extents. The dynamics and implications of the forced low-level updraft were examined. This updraft was driven by buoyancy advection because of the stratiform-induced low-level cold pool. The stationary nature of the rainband diabatic forcing played an important role in modulating the required temperature and pressure anomalies to sustain this updraft. Simulations with moisture and full microphysics confirmed that this low-level updraft response was robust and capable of triggering sustained deep convection that could further impact the storm evolution, including having a potential role in secondary eyewall formation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2443-2462
Number of pages20
JournalJournal of the Atmospheric Sciences
Issue number8
StatePublished - 2019

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Atmospheric Science


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