New research, supported in part by CPO’s Climate Observations and Monitoring (COM) program, sheds light on a crucial energy source for tropical cyclone formation that could help improve hurricane forecasts. The study is published as an early online release in Geophysical Research Letters.
Past research suggests radiative heating from clouds may play a key role in promoting the development of tropical convection systems. Digging deeper, Shun-nan Wu from University of Oklahoma and Brian Soden and David Nolan from the University of Miami used both satellite measurements and model simulations to better understand just how critical this potential cloud-heat-cyclone relationship is. Wu, Soden, and Nolan found that tropical cyclones with a greater amount of radiative heating from clouds are more likely to intensify over the next few days. Further, in model simulations, removing these cloud-radiative interactions decreased the probability that a tropical cyclone would form.