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Spontaneous Cyclogenesis without Radiative and Surface-Flux Feedbacks


Tropical cyclones (TCs) are among the most intense and feared storms in the world. What physical processes lead to cyclogenesis remains the most mysterious aspect of TC physics. Here, we study spontaneous TC genesis in rotating radiative-convective equilibrium using cloud-resolving simulations over an f plane with constant sea surface temperature. Previous studies proposed that spontaneous TC genesis requires either radiative or surface-flux feedbacks. To test this hypothesis, we perform mechanism-denial experiments, in which we switch off both feedback processes in numerical simulations. We find that TCs can self-emerge even without radiative and surface-flux feedbacks. Although these feedbacks accelerate the genesis and impact the size of the TCs, TCs in the experiments without them can reach similar intensities as those in the control experiment. We show that TC genesis is associated with an increase in the available potential energy (APE) and that convective heating dominates the APE production. Our result suggests that spontaneous TC genesis may result from a cooperative interaction between convection and circulation and that radiative and surface-flux feedbacks accelerate the process. Furthermore, we find that increasing the planetary rotation favors spontaneous TC genesis.

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