CloudSat & A-Train Observations of Tropical Cyclones: Examining Effects of Wind Shear on Storm Structure
Abstract:CloudSat (CS) heralded a new era of profiling the planet's cloud systems and storms with its launch in 2006. This satellite flies the first 94 GHz spaceborne cloud profiling radar and the data collected has provided a unique perspective on Earth's cloudiness and processes that affect clouds. While passes of the nadir-pointing CPR antenna occur infrequently over tropical cyclones (TCs), they happen enough to provide a detailed compilation of the inner structure of clouds and precipitation of these complex storm systems. Over 8,000 vertical profiles of TCs have been collected during the period June 2006 through June 2014 and observations continue as CS flies in daylight only mode. Each unique overpass profiled by CS has been compiled with corresponding A-Train sensors, model data and storm specific best track information.
With the volume of data collected, it is possible to composite TC structure information with respect to various environmental parameters that are known to have a controlling influence on storms. To illustrate this characteristic of the data, we show composites of the vertical structure of TCs as a function of environmental wind shear. Observations of wind shear at varying levels (for example 200-850 mb) and TC composites relative to the direction of the larger scale shear will be examined and discussed in detail.