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Keywords:

  • Eye;
  • Eye size;
  • Eyewall;
  • Numerical model;
  • Subsidence

Abstract

The structure and size of the eyes generated in numerically simulated tropical cyclones and polar lows have been studied. A primitive-equation numerical model simulated systems in which the structures of the eyes formed were consistent with available observations. Whilst the tropical cyclone eyes generated were usually rapidly rotating, it appeared impossible for an eye formed in a system with a polar environment to develop this type of structure. The polar low eyes were found to be unable to warm through the subsidence of air with high values of potential temperature, as the environment was approximately statically neutral. Factors affecting the size of the eye were investigated through a series of controlled experiments. In mature tropical cyclone systems the size of the eye was insensitive to small changes in initial conditions, surface friction and latent and sensible heating from the ocean. In contrast, the eye size was strongly dependent on these parameters in the mature polar lows. Consistent with the findings, a mechanism is proposed in which the size of the eye in simulated polar lows is controlled by the strength of subsidence within it.