Tropical Cyclones in Climate Models
Climate models have come a long way, but they still struggle to fully resolve hurricanes, and they show substantial intermodel spread. Can they capture asymmetric structure, and how hurricanes interact with vertical wind shear? My current postdoc work with Profs. Anthony Didlake and Colin Zarzycki addresses this question using a blend of reanalyses and variable-resolution climate models. 2 manuscripts on this work are currently in preparation, and going forward, we plan to assess how the hurricane-wind shear interaction might change in the future from a process-oriented perspective.
Tropical Cyclone Formation
My Master's thesis used idealized simulations to study tropical cyclogenesis. Specifically, we looked at how storms could form "on their own" from self-organizing convection in a free of external forcing. An interesting result: a physical pathway to tropical cyclone formation at 1° latitude! We published this work in 2020 in JAMES.
While at Florida State, I completed an undergraduate Honors thesis with Prof. Vasu Misra. We compared Atlantic and East Pacific tropical cyclones using Integrated Kinetic Energy (IKE), a metric accounting for both the strength and size of a storm's wind field. It was the first time IKE was applied to the East Pacific, and something that I'm interested in revisiting with more data (and more skills)!
Aircraft Observations of Hurricanes
Since graduation, I have stayed in touch with my advisor, Prof. Allison Wing, and her talented undergraduate student to work with dropsonde observations from hurricane reconnaissance aircraft. We are interested in moist static energy (MSE), a property which may help indicate a hurricane's potential to strengthen, and pick apart specific mechanisms behind that strengthening. We published a paper in GRL in 2022 asking "how well can a limited sample of dropsondes capture the MSE of a tropical cyclone's full environment?" This model-based work motivated our ongoing analysis, and future efforts to tie in satellite data for improved intensity forecasting.
Self-organizing, or "self-aggregating" tropical convection in idealized models helps us isolate convection-environment interactions relevant in the real tropics. My Ph.D. work considered how different "feedbacks" related to radiation, surface heat and moisture fluxes, and advection change with latitude. We applied this framework to hurricanes, equatorial waves, and tropical climate in papers published in 2022 (JAMES) and 2023 (JAS).
Data Collection and Quality Control from Research Vessels
As an undergraduate, I worked at the Center for Ocean-Atmospheric Prediction Studies (COAPS). In their Marine Data Center, I developed automated quality control (QC) procedures for ocean temperature data from research vessels. My other responsibility was to manually QC wind data collected over the Indian Ocean, producing a monthly wind stress product. The plot below was my first!