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Meteorology and Atmospheric Physics

, Volume 131, Issue 6, pp 1635–1659 | Cite as

The generation and maintenance of hollow PV towers in a forced primitive equation model

  • Gabriel J. WilliamsJr.Email author
Original Paper
  • 27 Downloads

Abstract

Diabatic heating from deep moist convection in the hurricane eyewall produces a towering annular structure of elevated potential vorticity (PV), known as a hollow PV tower. For sufficiently thin annular structures, eddies can extract energy from the mean flow, leading to hollow tower breakdown with significant changes in vortex structure and intensity. A forced primitive equation model in normalized isentropic coordinates is used to understand the role of diabatic heating in the generation, maintenance, and breakdown of the hurricane PV tower. It is shown that the generation of hollow PV towers is due to the combined effects of diabatic heating and the radial and vertical PV advection associated with the induced secondary circulation of the vortex. If the diabatic forcing makes the eyewall thin enough, then the PV tower can become dynamically unstable and cause air parcels with high PV to be mixed preferentially into the eye at lower levels, where unstable PV wave growth rates are largest. The breakdown of the hollow PV tower leads to a transient break in vortex intensification, a decrease in minimum central pressure, and an inward shift and tilt of absolute angular momentum surface. It is shown that the maintenance of the PV tower structure depends on the strength of the heating-induced secondary circulation and the interaction between diabatic heating and barotropic instability.

Notes

Acknowledgements

The calculations were made on Linux workstations generously provided from the College of Charleston. The funding from this work comes from the College of Charleston. I would also like to thank two anonymous reviewers for their penetrating and honest reviews, which has substantially improved the quality of this paper.

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The author declares no conflict of interest.

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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Austria, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Physics and AstronomyCollege of CharlestonCharlestonUSA

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