Moist multi-scale models for the hurricane embryo

Andrew J. Majda, Yulong Xing, Majid Mohammadian

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Determining the finite-amplitude preconditioned states in the hurricane embryo, which lead to tropical cyclogenesis, is a central issue in contemporary meteorology. In the embryo there is competition between different preconditioning mechanisms involving hydrodynamics and moist thermodynamics, which can lead to cyclogenesis. Here systematic asymptotic methods from applied mathematics are utilized to develop new simplified moist multi-scale models starting from the moist anelastic equations. Three interesting multi-scale models emerge in the analysis. The balanced mesoscale vortex (BMV) dynamics and the microscale balanced hot tower (BHT) dynamics involve simplified balanced equations without gravity waves for vertical vorticity amplification due to moist heat sources and incorporate nonlinear advective fluxes across scales. The BMV model is the central one for tropical cyclogenesis in the embryo. The moist mesoscale wave (MMW) dynamics involves simplified equations for mesoscale moisture fluctuations, as well as linear hydrostatic waves driven by heat sources from moisture and eddy flux divergences. A simplified cloud physics model for deep convection is introduced here and used to study moist axisymmetric plumes in the BHT model. A simple application in periodic geometry involving the effects of mesoscale vertical shear and moist microscale hot towers on vortex amplification is developed here to illustrate features of the coupled multi-scale models. These results illustrate the use of these models in isolating key mechanisms in the embryo in a simplified content.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)478-501
Number of pages24
JournalJournal of Fluid Mechanics
StatePublished - Aug 2010

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Condensed Matter Physics
  • Mechanics of Materials
  • Mechanical Engineering


Dive into the research topics of 'Moist multi-scale models for the hurricane embryo'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this