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Title: Non-rotating and rotating radiative-convective equilibrium
Authors: Zhou, Wenyu
Advisors: Held, Isaac M
Contributors: Atmospheric and Oceanic Sciences Department
Keywords: Convective Aggregation
Radiative-Convective Equilibrium
Tropical Cyclogenesis
Tropical Cyclone
Subjects: Atmospheric sciences
Issue Date: 2015
Publisher: Princeton, NJ : Princeton University
Abstract: Radiative-convective equilibrium (RCE), in which the radiative cooling in the atmosphere is balanced by the convective heating in a horizontally homogeneous environment, is a good starting point for studying tropical convection. It also provides an idealized framework to compare analogous simulations by global climate models (GCMs) which rely on convective parameterizations, and cloud-resolving models (CRMs) which aim to explicitly resolve moist convection. In this work, we seek to further our understanding of tropical cyclones and convective aggregation in the idealized framework of non-rotating and rotating RCE with both types of models. First, we achieve rotating RCE by coupling the resolution and physics of a GCM to rotating hydrostatic dynamics. A large doubly-periodic f-plane is used to allow multiple tropical cyclones (TCs) to coexist. Both cases with fixed and coupled sea surface temperature (SST) are considered. For fixed SST, the sensitivity to environmental parameters is investigated. Particularly, we find that the intensity, radius of maximum wind and size of TCs increase with SST. For coupled SST, SST is predicted using a simple slab ocean model. The effect of the eyewall cooling on TC intensity is studied. We show that Potential-Intensity theory overestimates the impact of the eyewall cooling on TC intensity, as its key assumption that entropy is well-mixed along angular-momentum surfaces within the atmospheric boundary layer no longer holds in cases with substantial eyewall cooling. We then study TC genesis with a small doubly-periodic f-plane. Through cloud-resolving simulations, we show that vertical shear plays an important role on regulating the sensitivity of tropical cyclogenesis to both the environmental rotation and thermodynamic state. As indicated by analogous simulations with the resolution and physics of GCMs, such effects of wind shear might not be fully represented in GCMs. Finally, we investigate convective self-aggregation from non-rotating RCE. The critical SST for self-aggregation to occur is sensitive to the model configuration, in the sense that the smaller convective cells the model simulates, the higher the critical SST could be. Such model sensitivity adds complexity to the dependency of self-aggregation on SST and its implication on the variation of convective aggregation with global warming.
Alternate format: The Mudd Manuscript Library retains one bound copy of each dissertation. Search for these copies in the library's main catalog:
Type of Material: Academic dissertations (Ph.D.)
Language: en
Appears in Collections:Atmospheric and Oceanic Sciences

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