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Kilroy, Gerard; Smith, Roger K.; Montgomery, Michael T. (2020): An idealized numerical study of tropical cyclogenesis and evolution at the Equator. In: Quarterly Journal of the Royal Meteorological Society, Vol. 146, No. 727: pp. 685-699
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Tropical cyclone formation and evolution at, or near, the Equator is explored using idealized three‐dimensional model simulations, starting from a prescribed, initial, weak counterclockwise rotating vortex in an otherwise quiescent, nonrotating environment. Three simulations are carried out in which the maximum tangential wind speed (5 m surn:x-wiley:qj:media:qj3701:qj3701-math-0001) is specified at an initial radius of 50, 100, or 150 km. After a period of gestation lasting between 30 and 60 hr, the vortices intensify rapidly, the evolution being similar to that for vortices away from the Equator. In particular, the larger the initial vortex size, the longer the gestation period, the larger the maximum intensity attained, and the longer the vortex lifetime. Beyond a few days, the vortices decay as the cyclonic vorticity source provided by the initial vortex is depleted and negative vorticity surrounding the vortex core is drawn inwards by the convectively driven overturning circulation. In these negative vorticity regions, the flow is inertially/centrifugally unstable. The vortex evolution during the mature and decay phases differs from that in simulations away from the Equator, where inertially unstable regions are much more limited in area. Vortex decay in the simulations appears to be related intimately to the development of inertial instability, which is accompanied by an outward‐propagating band of deep convection. The degree to which this band of deep convection is realistic is unknown.