Lagrangian Description of Air Masses Associated with Latent Heat Release in Tropical Storm Karl (2016) during Extratropical Transition

Christian Euler, Michael Riemer, Tobias Kremer, Elmar Schömer
2019 Monthly Weather Review  
Extratropical transition (ET) of tropical cyclones involves distinct changes of the cyclone's structure that are not yet well understood. This study presents for the first time a comprehensive Lagrangian description of structure change near the inner core. A large sample of trajectories is computed from a convection-permitting numerical simulation of the ET of Tropical Storm Karl (2016). Three main airstreams are considered: those associated with the inner-core convection, inner-core descent,
more » ... ner-core descent, and the developing warm conveyor belt. Analysis of these airstreams is performed both in thermodynamic and physical space. Prior to ET, Karl is embedded in weak vertical wind shear and its intensity is impeded by excessive detrainment from the innercore convection. At the start of ET, vertical shear increases and Karl intensifies, which is attributable to reduced detrainment and thus to the formation of a well-defined outflow layer. During ET, the thermodynamic changes of the environment impact Karl's inner-core convection predominantly by a decrease of u e values in the inflow layer. Notably, notwithstanding Karl's weak intensity, its inner core acts as a "containment vessel" that transports high-u e air into the increasingly hostile environment. Inner-core descent has two origins: (i) mostly from upshear-left above 4-km height in the environment and (ii) boundary layer air that ascends in the inner core first and then descends, performing rollercoaster-like trajectories. At the end of the tropical phase of ET, the developing warm conveyor belt comprises air masses from several different source regions, and only partly from the cyclone's developing warm sector, as expected for extratropical cyclones.
doi:10.1175/mwr-d-18-0422.1 fatcat:hwco3bztr5dolilc3sfdtdtak4