Seminar coordinator: Prof. Greg McFarquhar (mcfarq at illinois.edu)
Predicting intensity changes continues to be one of the most elusive aspects of forecasting the behavior of tropical cyclones, particularly when these systems are under the influence of fluctuations in their larger-scale environment. This work furthers the understanding of both the basic structure of tropical cyclones, as well as these storms’ response to both internal and external variations, through statistical analyses of precipitation structure over ten years of data from the spaceborne Tropical Rainfall Measurement Mission (TRMM) Precipitation Radar (PR). These analyses reveal the typical vertical structure of the dominant precipitation features seen within tropical cyclones, namely the eyewall, the organized rainbands closest to the storm center, and the disorganized rainbands further afield. The changes in these statistics provide insight into why the rainfall patterns associated with these features change when storms are undergoing both internal fluctuations in intensity, as well as external influences such as environmental vertical windshear and changes in sea surface temperature. This work thus provides a benchmark for model validation, and a context for field campaign case study comparison, such as the ongoing NASA Hurricane and Severe Storm Sentinel (HS3) field campaign.
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