Rapid deepening of tropical cyclones in the northeastern Tropical Pacific: The relationship with oceanic eddies

FERNANDO OROPEZA, GRACIELA B. RAGA

Abstract

 

The National Hurricane Center best track archive data for the northeastern Tropical Pacific includes tropical cyclones (TC) that exhibited rapid and/or explosive deepening during the period 1993-2009. Concurrently, satellite altimeter observations show the northeastern Tropical Pacific populated by cyclonic and anticyclonic oceanic eddies. These two sources of data are used to study the role of oceanic eddies in the spatial distribution of the oceanic heat content and the rapid and/or explosive deepening of TCs in the northeastern Tropical Pacific. Analysis of the results demonstrates that: (1) Interaction between TCs and anticyclonic eddies occurred in ~ 73% of the TCs within the analyzed period; (2) 90% of the TCs that reached major hurricane category had experienced an interaction with anticyclonic eddies; (3) ~ 18% (3%) of the TCs were characterized by rapid (explosive) deepening and 74% of these TCs reached the deepening status after direct and/or indirect interaction with anticyclonic eddies; moreover, 86% of them reached a major hurricane category. Analysis of the atmospheric conditions demonstrates the important role of dry air intrusion along the vertical profile ofthe lower atmosphere as an inhibitor of tropical cyclone deepening.

Keywords

Tropical cyclones, oceanic eddies, rapid deepening.

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