The Dynamics and Physics Theme involves research aimed at improving our understanding of tropical cyclones through the application of fundamental physical principles of air motion, moist thermodynamics, and radiation. Researchers use a combination of theory, aircraft observations, analysis, and numerical modeling to better understand how phenomena from the microscale to the environmental scale contribute to motion, structure and intensity changes. Researchers work closely with scientists in the other themes to improve the tools available and to apply new understanding in a way that benefits prediction.
Research topics include:
- Tropical cyclone intensity change: convective and mesoscale processes and intensity change, with an emphasis on rapid intensification
- Tropical cyclones in vertical shear: impact of vertical wind shear on structure and intensity; vortex resilience theory
- Tropical cyclogenesis: role of mesoscale and convective-scale processes in genesis
- Extratropical transition: processes by which tropical cyclones transition to intense extratropical cyclones at high latitudes
- Tropical transition: processes by which non-tropical disturbances transition into tropical cyclones
- Meso- and miso-scale features: eyewall mesocyclones and extreme features in the eyewall and ultimate impacts on intensity and intensity change
- Microphysics: Obtain number and mass concentrations of particles from 0.6 μm – 6 mm diameter in the hurricane to comprehend the energetics of the storm.
- Turbulence: in-situ and remote observations of turbulent fluxes, turbulent kinetic energy, and turbulent transport processes including vertical and horizontal mixing and entrainment in tropical cyclones
- Air-sea interactions: Quantifying the role of the upper ocean in modulating surface fluxes of heat and moisture in hurricanes