Cheng TaoFollow

Document Type



Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)



First Advisor's Name

Haiyan Jiang

First Advisor's Committee Title

Committee chair

Second Advisor's Name

Hugh Willoughby

Second Advisor's Committee Title

Committee member

Third Advisor's Name

Ping Zhu

Third Advisor's Committee Title

Committee member

Fourth Advisor's Name

Xiaosheng Li

Fourth Advisor's Committee Title

Committee member


Tropical cyclone, Rainfall, Overshooting convection, Rapid intensification, TRMM, Precipitation radar, Remote sensing

Date of Defense



The climatology of overshooting convection in tropical cyclones (TCs) is examined using Tropical Rainfall Measuring Mission (TRMM) Precipitation Radar (PR). The percentage of TC convective systems with overshooting convection is highest over the North Indian Ocean basin, while the northwest Pacific basin contains the highest population of both TC convective systems and convection with overshooting tops. Convective systems in the inner core region are more capable of penetrating 14 km and the associated overshooting convection are featured with much stronger overshooting properties compared with those in the inner rainband and outer rainband regions. In the inner core region of TCs, convection associated with precipitating systems of higher intensity and intensification rates has a larger probability of containing overshooting tops.

To identify the relative importance of shallow/moderate versus deep/very deep convection in the rapid intensification (RI) of TCs, four types of precipitation-convection are defined based on the 20 dBZ radar echo height (Z20dBZ). Distributions of four types of precipitation-convection, and their contributions to total volumetric rain and total latent heating are quantified. It is shown that RI is closely associated with increased and widespread shallow precipitation around the storm center, while moderately deep and very deep convection (or overshooting convection) does not increase until in the middle of RI. This is further confirmed by the study of rainfall and convection evolution with respect to the timeline of RI events. Statistically, the onset of RI follows a significant increase in the areal coverage of rainfall, shallow precipitation, and cyan of 37 GHz color composites upshear-left, which in turn could be used as potential parameters to forecast RI. Very deep convection is most frequent 12-24 hours before RI onset and concentrates upshear-left, but it quickly decreases in the following 24 hours. The percent occurrence of very deep convection is less than 1% for RI storms. The tilt of vortex is large prior to, and near the RI onset, but rapidly decreases in the middle of RI, suggesting that the vertical alignment is a result instead of a trigger of RI.



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