HS3 Driving Science Questions

The major limitations in predicting intensity change in hurricanes are a poor understanding of the processes that cause it, inadequate representation of those processes in models, and a general lack of adequate observations of the storm environment and internal processes. These are the problems that HS3 will address. We know that certain necessary conditions must exist for storms to develop such as warm ocean temperatures, weak vertical wind shear, and high humidity. However, competing hypotheses abound about the factors that determine whether a storm will intensify or weaken, including hypotheses related to inertial instability of the upper troposphere, favorable upper-level eddy fluxes of angular momentum associated with nearby large-scale troughs, protection of convective disturbances by a protective wave “pouch”, convective hot towers, and the Saharan Air Layer (SAL). These different hypotheses can be distilled down to the extent to which either the environment or processes internal to the storm are key to intensity change.
Is the likelihood of intensification after formation mainly a result of characteristics of the large-scale environment?
Are internal processes driven by large-scale forcing or do internal processes act independently of this forcing?

Click on the links below to learn more about HS3 science

Hurricane Intensity Change and the Storm Environment
Hurricane Intensity Change and Internal Processes
Extratropical Transition