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Rutherford, Blake; Dunkerton, Timothy; Montgomery, Michael; Braun, Scott (2017)
Publisher: Copernicus Publications
Languages: English
Types: Article
Subjects: Chemistry, QD1-999, Physics, QC1-999
The interaction of a tropical disturbance with its environment is thought to play an important role in whether a disturbance will develop of not. Most developing disturbances are somewhat protected from the intrusion of environmental dry air at mid-levels. For African easterly wave (AEW) disturbances, the protective boundary is approximated by closed streamlines in the wave-relative frame, and their interior is called the wave-pouch. The dynamic and thermodynamic processes of spin-up occur inside the pouch.

In this study we define the kinematic boundaries for a non-AEW disturbance in the Bay of Campeche that originated along a sharp frontal boundary in a confluent region of low pressure. We examine these boundaries during the genesis of Hurricane Nate (2011) to show how a layer-wise pouch boundary in the Lagrangian frame may allow for some transport into the pouch along the frontal boundary while still protecting the innermost development region. This result illustrates a generic property of weakly unsteady flows, including the time-dependent critical-layer of AEWs, that lateral exchange of air occurs along a segment of the boundary formed by the instantaneous, closed translating streamlines.

Transport in the Lagrangian frame is simplest when measured with respect to the stable and unstable manifolds of a hyperbolic trajectory, which are topologically invariant. In this framework, an exact analysis of vorticity transport identifies two sources; i) the advection of vorticity through the entrainment and expulsion of bounded material regions called lobes, and ii) the baroclinic contribution of vorticity transport through the tilting mechanism across the Lagrangian boundary. We also show how these Lagrangian boundaries impact the concentration of moisture, influence convection, and contribute to the pouch vertical structure.
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