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Schmidt, Christoph W.; Smith, Roger K. (2016): Tropical cyclone evolution in a minimal axisymmetric model revisited. In: Quarterly Journal of the Royal Meteorological Society, Vol. 142, No. 696: pp. 1505-1516
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An improved version of a minimal model for a tropical cyclone is described. The model is used to revisit some fundamental aspects of vortex behaviour in the prototype problem for tropical cyclone intensification. After rapidly intensifying to a mature phase in which the maximum tangential wind speed remains quasi-steady for a few days, the vortex ultimately decays. In a 20-day simulation, the vortex never becomes globally steady. In particular, the upper anticyclone continues to expand for the duration of the integration. These results are consistent with those of recent studies using more sophisticated numerical models. As in the latter models, an important feature of the dynamics of spin-up is the development of supergradient winds in the boundary layer and the vertical advection of the associated high tangential-momentum air from the boundary layer to spin up the eyewall region. This mechanism, while consistent with some recently reported results, is not part of the classical theory of spin-up.