Spectral decomposition of the fluxes generated by a tropical cyclone
Spectral decomposition of the fluxes generated by a tropical cyclone at an altitude of 17 kilometers for different environmental wind profiles as simulated by the WRF model: (a) no environmental wind or wind shear; (b) a moderate westerly vertical wind shear of 4 meters per second. Credit: Wang et al. [2019], Figure 4a and b
Source: Geophysical Research Letters

Gravity waves are a type of buoyance waves important in the transport of energy, momentum and chemical species between different atmospheric layers. Gravity waves are caused for many sources, including tropical cyclones. It is well known that vertical shear influences the characteristics of tropical cyclones. Wang et al. [2019] present new interesting results on how tropical cyclones generate gravity waves in the atmosphere.

The authors use idealized model simulations to explore systematically the role of the vertical wind shear on the gravity waves generated by tropical cyclones. Their results show that the relative shear, which is more related to the storm tilt than the background flow, plays a key role in modifying the gravity waves generated by the tropical cyclones. These results set the stage for new research in this field. The conclusions of these papers could potentially have significant impact on our day to day, as gravity waves play a significant role in predicting turbulence for air traffic, as well as in weather extremes, such as heavy precipitation and storms.

Citation: Wang, Y., Zhang, L., Zhang, Y., & Guan, J. [2019]. Effects of Tropospheric Vertical Wind Shear on Gravity Waves Generated by Tropical Cyclones. Geophysical Research Letters, 46. https://doi.org/10.1029/2019GL082085

—Suzana Camargo, Editor, Geophysical Research Letters

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