An observational study of hurricane boundary layer small-scale coherent structures

Sylvie Lorsolo, John L. Schroeder, Peter Dodge, Frank Marks

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

69 Scopus citations


Data with high temporal and spatial resolution from Hurricanes Isabel (2003) and France's (2004) were analyzed to provide a detailed study of near-surface linear structures with subkilometer wavelengths of the hurricane boundary layer (HBL). The analysis showed that the features were omnipresent throughout the data collection, displayed a horizontal and vertical coherency, and maintained an average orientation of 7° left of the low-level wind. A unique objective wavelength analysis was conducted, where wavelength was defined as the distance between two wind maxima or minima perpendicular to the features' long axis, and revealed that although wavelengths as large as 1400 m were observed, the majority of the features had wavelengths between 200 and 650 m. The assessed wavelengths differ from those documented in a recent observational study. To evaluate the correlation between the features and the underlying near-surface wind field, time and spectral analyses were completed and ground-relative frequency distributions of the features were retrieved. High-energy regions of the power spectral density (PSD) determined from near-surface data were collocated with the features' ground-relative frequency, illustrating that the features have an influence on the near-surface wind field. The additional energy found in the low-frequency range of the PSDs was previously identified as characteristic of the hurricane surface flow, suggesting that the features are an integral component of the HBL flow.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2871-2893
Number of pages23
JournalMonthly Weather Review
Issue number8
StatePublished - Aug 2008


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