Rapid intensification

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Infrared satellite loop of Typhoon Hinnamnor in August 2022, as it underwent rapid intensification

In meteorology, rapid intensification is a situation where a tropical cyclone intensifies dramatically in a short period of time. The United States National Hurricane Center defines rapid intensification as an increase in the maximum sustained winds of a tropical cyclone of at least 30 knots (35 mph; 55 km/h) in a 24-hour period.[1]

Necessary conditions[edit]

External[edit]

In order for rapid intensification to occur, several conditions must be in place. Water temperatures must be extremely warm (near or above 30 °C, 86 °F), and water of this temperature must be sufficiently deep such that waves do not churn deeper cooler waters up to the surface. Wind shear must be low; when wind shear is high, the convection and circulation in the cyclone will be disrupted.[2] Dry air can also limit the strengthening of tropical cyclones.[3]

Internal[edit]

Usually, an anticyclone in the upper layers of the troposphere above the storm must also be present for extremely low surface pressures to develop. This is because air must be converging towards the low pressure at the surface, which then forces the air to rise very rapidly in the eyewall of the storm. Due to conservation of mass, this requires a divergence of wind at the top of the troposphere. This process is aided by an upper-level anticyclone which helps efficiently channel this air away from the cyclone.[4] Hot towers have been implicated in tropical cyclone rapid intensification, though they have diagnostically seen varied impacts across basins.[5]

Previous nomenclature and definitions[edit]

The United States National Hurricane Center previously defined rapid deepening of a tropical cyclone, when the minimum central pressure decreased by 42 millibars (1.240 inHg) over a 24-hour period.[6] Currently it is defined as an increase in the maximum sustained winds of a tropical cyclone of at least 30 knots (35 mph; 55 km/h) in a 24-hour period.[1] However, recent research suggests that mean sea level pressure is a better predictor of damage from hurricanes making landfall in the continental United States.[7]

Forecasting[edit]

The later half of the 21st century forecasts envision stronger greenhouse gas forcing dominating natural variability which along with warming sea surface temperatures will create more intense hurricanes along the U.S. Atlantic coasts.[8] The same period forecasts for the Gulf of Mexico coasts indicate sufficient wind shear in place to somewhat diminish rapid storm intensification. Atlantic storms, Hurricane Maria and Hurricane Harvey intensified rapidly in 2017.[9]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b National Hurricane Center (March 25, 2013). "Glossary of NHC Terms". United States National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's National Weather Service. Archived from the original on May 15, 2014. Retrieved April 1, 2014.
  2. ^ Lam, Linda (October 23, 2015). "Multiple Factors Allowed Hurricane Patricia to Rapidly Intensify". The Weather Channel. Retrieved August 6, 2018.
  3. ^ Lam, Linda (7 September 2018). "Based on Hurricane Florence's Location, We Didn't Expect It to Get So Strong So Soon". The Weather Channel. Retrieved 7 September 2018.
  4. ^ Diana Engle. "Hurricane Structure and Energetics". Data Discovery Hurricane Science Center. Archived from the original on 2008-05-27. Retrieved 2008-10-26.
  5. ^ Zhuge, Xiao-Yong; Ming, Jie; Wang, Yuan (October 2015). "Reassessing the Use of Inner-Core Hot Towers to Predict Tropical Cyclone Rapid Intensification*". Weather and Forecasting. 30 (5): 1265–1279. Bibcode:2015WtFor..30.1265Z. doi:10.1175/WAF-D-15-0024.1.
  6. ^ National Hurricane Center/Tropical Prediction Center (February 7, 2005). "Glossary of NHC/TPC Terms". United States National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's National Weather Service. Archived from the original on October 17, 2005. Retrieved April 1, 2014.
  7. ^ Klotzbach, Philip J.; Bell, Michael M.; Bowen, Steven G.; Gibney, Ethan J.; Knapp, Kenneth R.; Schreck, Carl J. (22 January 2020). "Surface Pressure a More Skillful Predictor of Normalized Hurricane Damage than Maximum Sustained Wind". Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society. 101 (6): E830–E846. Bibcode:2020BAMS..101E.830K. doi:10.1175/BAMS-D-19-0062.1.
  8. ^ Ting, Mingfang; P. Kossin, James; J. Camargo, Suzana; Cuihua, Li (24 May 2019). "Past and Future Hurricane Intensity Change along the U.S. East Coast". Scientific Reports. United States National Library of Medicine. 9 (1): 7795. doi:10.1038/s41598-019-44252-w. PMC 6534560. PMID 31127128.
  9. ^ Shao, Alena (26 September 2022). "A 'Nightmare' for Forecasters: Here's Why Hurricanes Are Getting Stronger, Faster". The New York Times. Retrieved 27 September 2022.