Impact of Cloud Microphysics on Idealized Hurricane Intensity

Impact of Cloud Microphysics on Idealized Hurricane Intensity

Microphysics in Idealized Hurricanes

In order to better tease out the dependencies of hurricane growth and intensity on various ice microphysics, my summer 2019 research investigated 6 different hurricanes. These 6 hurricanes were simulated with 3 different microphysics schemes at 2 different intensities (Categories 3 and 5).

Radar calculations of category 5 hurricanes that were generated by the Weather Research and Forecasting Model using (left-to-right) the WDM6, Morrison, and Thompson Microphysics schemes.

My preliminary analysis of those 6 hurricane simulations showed that all of the storms grew and reached maximum intensity at about the same timing. However, the weaker (category 3) hurricanes experienced greater differences than did the stronger storms. 2 microphysical schemes produced more ice and snow than the third scheme and in those 2 schemes, the storms that were produced were always bigger. Those four hurricanes also experienced lower altitude light-to-moderate rain. Conversely, The 3rd microphysical scheme produced smaller hurricanes that had more hail distributed throughout the simulated storms.

Hurricane cross section with strong updrafts and liquid water particles located within the eyewall (center).

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