The Control of Environmental Stratification on the Hurricane Maximum Potential Intensity

This study examines the dependence of the hurricane maximum potential intensity (MPI) on environmental stratification beyond the traditional MPI framework. Unlike the previous formulation in which MPI is a function of the convective available potential energy in the eyewall only, a new MPI formulation is introduced herein that explicitly incorporates the effects of environmental stratification. The new formulation is examined within an axisymmetric modeling framework, using various initial vertical thermodynamic structures. Results show the strong dependence of the model simulated maximum hurricane intensity on environmental stratification, with a lower maximum intensity for a more stable troposphere. Given the growing evidence from recent studies showing that a warmer sea surface temperature would induce a more stable troposphere, our finding suggests a smaller change in the maximum hurricane intensity in the future warming climate than that estimated from the current MPI framework. The new formulation highlights the importance of environmental stratification in hurricane development and the long‐term variability of hurricane intensity, a complete understanding of which is still elusive at present.

Publication Date:
Jun 08 2018
Date Submitted:
Jun 21 2019
Geophysical Research Letters

Note: The file is under embargo until: 2019-12-31

 Record created 2019-06-21, last modified 2019-08-05

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