Nov 29, 2016

The Relationship between Sea Surface Temperature and Maximum Intensification Rate of Tropical Cyclones in the North Atlantic

Jing Xu, Yuqing Wang, and Zhe-Min Tan
AMS Journal of the Atmospheric Sciences
  • Analyzes the relationship between sea surface temperatures and intensity of tropical cyclones (TCs) over the North Atlantic
  • Shows a nonlinear increasing trend in the maximum potential intensification rate (MPIR) with increasing sea surface temperature (SST), with a more rapid increasing trend when SST is higher than 27°C
  • Finds that about 28% of intensifying TCs over the North Atlantic reached 50% of their MPIR and only 7% reached 80% of their MPIR at the time when they were at their lifetime maximum intensification rates
  • Finds that a TC tended to have a larger intensification rate when it was located in regions with higher SST and lower vertical wind shear (VWS)
    • This indicates that although the MPIR–SST relationship is much stronger than that for the IR rate versus SST for most TCs, the actual intensification rate of a TC is determined by not only the SST but also other environmental effects, such as VWS
  • Additional results from a simplified dynamical system previously developed for TC intensity prediction suggest an SST-dependent TC MPIR, similar to that fitted from observations