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Hurricane Boundary Layer Height Relative to Storm Motion from GPS Dropsonde Composites

The Center of Jiangsu Meteorological Service, Nanjing 21008, China
Cooperative Institute for Marine and Atmospheric Studies, University of Miami, Miami, FL 33149, USA
NOAA/AOML/Hurricane Research Division, Miami, FL 33149, USA
Joint Center for Earth Systems Technology, University of Maryland Baltimore County, Baltimore, MD 21250, USA
NASA Goddard Space Flight Center (GSFC), Greenbelt, MD 20771, USA
Centre of Data Assimilation for Research and Application, Nanjing University of Information Science & Technology, Nanjing 210044, China
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Atmosphere 2019, 10(6), 339;
Received: 9 May 2019 / Revised: 3 June 2019 / Accepted: 10 June 2019 / Published: 21 June 2019
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Lower Atmosphere Meteorology)
PDF [3776 KB, uploaded 21 June 2019]


This study investigates the asymmetric distribution of hurricane boundary layer height scales in a storm-motion-relative framework using global positioning system (GPS) dropsonde observations. Data from a total of 1916 dropsondes collected within four times the radius of maximum wind speed of 37 named hurricanes over the Atlantic basin from 1998 to 2015 are analyzed in the composite framework. Motion-relative quadrant mean composite analyses show that both the kinematic and thermodynamic boundary layer height scales tend to increase with increasing radius in all four motion-relative quadrants. It is also found that the thermodynamic mixed layer depth and height of maximum tangential wind speed are within the inflow layer in all motion-relative quadrants. The inflow layer depth and height of the maximum tangential wind are both found to be deeper in the two front quadrants, and they are largest in the right-front quadrant. The difference in the thermodynamic mixed layer depth between the front and back quadrants is smaller than that in the kinematic boundary layer height. The thermodynamic mixed layer is shallowest in the right-rear quadrant, which may be due to the cold wake phenomena. The boundary layer height derived using the critical Richardson number ( R i c ) method shows a similar front-back asymmetry as the kinematic boundary layer height. View Full-Text
Keywords: atmospheric boundary layer; tropical cyclone; storm motion; asymmetry; hurricane; aircraft; dropsonde atmospheric boundary layer; tropical cyclone; storm motion; asymmetry; hurricane; aircraft; dropsonde

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This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited (CC BY 4.0).

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Ren, Y.; Zhang, J.A.; Guimond, S.R.; Wang, X. Hurricane Boundary Layer Height Relative to Storm Motion from GPS Dropsonde Composites. Atmosphere 2019, 10, 339.

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