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In 2005, the NASA-NOAA TCSP field program documented two hurricanes that underwent rapid intensification, Dennis and Emily. In the same year, the NSF-NOAA-NRL program RAINEX documented Hurricanes Katrina and Rita, which also underwent rapid intensification. These four storms had somewhat similar tracks and all made landfall on the Gulf coast making the 2005 Gulf/Caribbean hurricane season one of the most infamous of all time. This proposal takes advantage of the extraordinarily good datasets collected in both TCSP and RAINEX and the general similarity of these four storms by studying the rapid intensification phases of these four storms as a group, thus unifying the TCSP and RAINEX datasets. By applying similar methods to all four storms, we will gain generality of results not possible from a single case study. The objective of this unified analysis of all four storms is to advance understanding of hurricane rapid intensification, which is a primary national (and NASA) objective. This analysis will determine the relative roles of deep convection in the eyewall, mesoscale vortex dynamics, air-sea interaction, and interaction with the large-scale environment in the rapid intensification process. The research will be a team effort between U. Washington and U. Miami. UW brings to the project extensive data analysis experience and tools for mesoscale analysis. UM brings a unique coupled atmosphere-ocean-wave high-resolution hurricane modeling system. It is the only such fully coupled model presently operating, and such a model is required if the TCSP and RAINEX data are to be used to advance knowledge of rapid intensification. The aircraft datasets of Doppler radar data and dropsondes of each of the four rapidly intensifying storms are excellent but lack the time continuity to identify the processes of rapid intensification. The UM model will be utilized to provide the needed time continuity.

Project PI: Robert Houze/University of Washington

ATG Building, Room 604 Box 351640 University of Washington Seattle, WA 98195-1640

Phone: (206)543-6922

Fax: (206)543-0308


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Started: Aug 10, 2010

Last Activity: Dec 15, 2010


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