The multiple vortex nature of tropical cyclogenesis
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This thesis contains an observational analysis of the genesis of Tropical Storm Allison (2001). Using a paradigm of tropical cyclone formation as the superposition of potential vorticity (PV) anomalies, the importance of different scales of PV merger to various aspects of Allisons formation is discussed. While only the case of Allison is discussed in great detail, other studies have also documented PV superposition on various scales, and superposition could be important for most tropical cyclones. Preceding Allisons genesis, PV superposition on the large scale destabilized the atmosphere and increased low-level cyclonic vorticity. This presented a more favorable environment for the formation of MCV-type PV anomalies and smaller, surface-based, meso-β-scale vortices. Although these vortices eventually merged to form a more concentrated vortex with stronger surface pressure gradients, the merger happened well after landfall of Allison and no strengthening ensued. The unstable, vorticity-rich environment was also favorable for the development of even smaller, meso-γ-scale vortices that accompanied deep convective cells within one of Allisons meso-β-scale vortices. The observations herein suggest that the meso-γ- scale convective cells and vortices are the respective source of PV production and building blocks for the meso-β-scale vortices. Finally, this thesis discusses issues related to the multiple vortex nature of tropical cyclone formation. For instance, the tracking of developing tropical cyclones is greatly complicated by the presence of multiple vortices. For these cases, the paradigm of a single cyclone center is inappropriate and alternative tracking methods are introduced.
Subjecttropical cyclone formation
tropical cyclone genesis
Tropical Storm Allison
Sippel, Jason Allen (2004). The multiple vortex nature of tropical cyclogenesis. Master's thesis, Texas A&M University. Texas A&M University. Available electronically from
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