Evaluating the Role of Land Surface Moisture in Generating Asymmetrical Precipitation during the Landfall of Hurricane Florence (2018)

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2023-04-30
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MDPI
Abstract

This study focuses on the role of land surface moisture in generating asymmetrical precipitation surrounding a nearly stationary Hurricane Florence (2018) during landfall. Previous idealized modeling studies have suggested that atmospheric stability varies surrounding a tropical cyclone (TC) during landfall, with the atmosphere destabilizing off-shore and stabilizing on-shore. However, this finding has not been studied using a real modeling framework. Here, we produce high-resolution numerical simulations to examine the variations in precipitation and atmospheric stability surrounding Hurricane Florence. In addition to a control simulation (CTRL), two additional simulations are performed by altering the land surface cover to be moister (WETX) or drier (DRYX) compared with the CTRL. In the experiment, the altered land surface affects the equivalent potential temperature within the boundary layer. Due to changes in moisture, there are consistent but minor impacts on the spatial patterns of moist static instability. This study found that rainbands in the inner core and distant rainband regions responded differently to changes in land surface moisture. Within the inner core region of the TC, WETX produced more precipitation that was more symmetrical compared with DRYX. In DRYX, there was increased moist static instability in the outer rainband region over water and decreased moist static instability in the outer rainband region over land, which may have contributed to the enhanced precipitation asymmetries. Still, both experiments produced asymmetrical precipitation distributions, suggesting that alterations to land surface moisture had a minor impact on the precipitation asymmetries in Hurricane Florence. We conclude that precipitation asymmetries are primarily dynamically driven by weak to moderate vertical wind shear and asymmetries in moisture flux convergence.

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Citation
Rosenthal, L.; Zick, S.E. Evaluating the Role of Land Surface Moisture in Generating Asymmetrical Precipitation during the Landfall of Hurricane Florence (2018). Atmosphere 2023, 14, 814.