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Keywords:

  • Tropical Cyclones;
  • Turbulence;
  • Boundary Layer Processes;
  • Subgrid scale paramaterization;
  • two-dimensional;
  • three-dimensional

Abstract

[1] Here we show, from in situ aircraft measurements in the hurricane boundary layer, a height-dependent transition of the flow from 3-D to 2-D turbulence. This marks a fundamental change in the energy dynamics of the hurricane boundary layer due to the fact that in 3-D, energy flows downscale from larger to smaller scales, whereas in 2-D, it flows upscale, from smaller to larger scales. These results represent the first measurement of the 2-D upscale energy flux in the atmosphere and also the first to characterize the transition from 3-D to 2-D. It is shown that the large-scale parent vortex may gain energy directly from small scales in tropical cyclones.