A 13-Year Global Climatology of Tropical Cyclone Warm-Core Structures from AIRS Data
There is uncertainty as to whether the typical warm-core structure of tropical cyclones (TCs) is featured as an upper-level warm core or not. It has been hypothesized that data from the satellite-borne Advanced Microwave Sounding Unit (AMSU) are inadequate to resolve a realistic TC warm-core structure. This study first evaluates 13 years of Atmospheric Infrared Sounder (AIRS) temperature retrieval against recent dropsonde measurements in TCs. AIRS can resolve the TC warm-core structure well, comparable to the dropsonde observations, although the AMSU-A retrievals fail to do so. Using 13-yr AIRS data in global TCs, a global climatology of the TC warm-core structure is generated in this study. The typical warm-core height is at the upper level around 300-400 hPa for all TCs and increases with TC intensity: 400 hPa (~8 km) for tropical storms, 300 hPa (~10 km) for category 1-3 hurricanes, 250-300 hPa (~10-11 km) for category 4 hurricanes, and 150 hPa (~14 km) for category 5 hurricanes. The range of warm-core height varies with TC intensity as well. A strong correlation between TC intensity and warm-core strength is found. A weaker but still significant correlation between TC intensity and warm-core height is also found.