Investigation of Tropical Cyclone Wind Models With Application to Storm Tide Simulations


The hazards induced by tropical cyclones (TCs), for example, high winds, extreme precipitation, and storm tides, are closely related to the TC surface wind field. Parametric models for TC surface wind distribution have been widely used for hazards and risk analysis due to their simplicity and efficiency in application. Here we revisit the parametric modeling of TC wind fields, including the symmetrical and asymmetrical components, and its applications in storm tide modeling in the North Atlantic. The asymmetrical wind field has been related to TC motion and vertical wind shear; however, we find that a simple and empirical background-wind model, based solely on a rotation and scaling of the TC motion vector, can largely capture the observed surface wind asymmetry. The implicit inclusion of the wind shear effect can be understood with the climatological relationship between the general TC motion and wind shear directions during hurricane seasons. For the symmetric wind field, the widely used Holland wind profile is chosen as a benchmark model, and we find that a physics-based complete wind profile model connecting the inner core and outer region performs superiorly compared to a wind analysis data set. When used as wind forcing for storm tide simulations, the physics-based complete wind profile integrated with the background-wind asymmetry model can reproduce the observed storm tides with lower errors than the often-used Holland model coupled with a translation-speed-based method.

Journal of Geophysical Research: Atmospheres