Investigating the sensitivity of hurricane intensity and trajectory to sea surface temperatures using the regional model WRF
Kilic, Cevahir; Raible, Christoph C.
The influence of sea surface temperature (SST) anomalies on the hurricane characteristics are investigated in a set of sensitivity experiments employing the Weather Research and Forecasting (WRF) model. The idealised experiments are performed for the case of Hurricane Katrina in 2005. The first set of sensitivity experiments with basin-wide changes of the SST magnitude shows that the intensity goes along with changes in the SST, i.e., an increase in SST leads to an intensification of Katrina. Additionally, the trajectory is shifted to the west (east), with increasing (decreasing) SSTs. The main reason is a strengthening of the background flow. The second set of experiments investigates the influence of Loop Current eddies idealised by localised SST anomalies. The intensity of Hurricane Katrina is enhanced with increasing SSTs close to the core of a tropical cyclone. Negative nearby SST anomalies reduce the intensity. The trajectory only changes if positive SST anomalies are located west or north of the hurricane centre. In this case the hurricane is attracted by the SST anomaly which causes an additional moisture source and increased vertical winds.