Sensitivity of Tropical Cyclone Spinup Time to the Initial Entropy Deficit
Monday, 15 December 2014: 11:05 AM
The development timescale of a tropical cyclone from genesis to the start of rapid intensification in an axisymmetric model is hypothesized to be a function of the initial entropy deficit. We run a set of idealized simulations in which the initial entropy deficit between the boundary layer and free troposphere varies from 0 to 100 J kg-1 K-1. The development timescale is measured by changes in the integrated kinetic energy of the low-level vortex. This timescale is inversely related to the mean mass flux during the tropical cyclone gestation period. The mean mass flux, in turn, is a function of the statistics of convective updrafts and downdrafts. Contour frequency by altitude diagrams show that entrainment of dry air into updrafts is predominately responsible for differences in the mass flux between the experiments, while downdrafts play a secondary role. Analyses of the potential and kinetic energy budgets indicate less efficient conversion of available potential energy to kinetic energy in the experiments with higher entropy deficits. Entrainment leads to the loss of buoyancy and the destruction of available potential energy. In the presence of strong downdrafts, there can even be a reversal of the conversion term. Weaker and more radially confined radial inflow results in less convergence of angular momentum in the experiments with higher entropy deficits. The result is a slower vortex spinup and a reduction in steady-state vortex size, despite similar steady-state maximum intensities among the experiments.