Insights into the origin of precipitation moisture for tropical cyclones during rapid intensification process

Published in Tropical Cyclone Research and Review, 2024

Recommended citation: Pérez-Alarcón, A.; Fernández-Alvarez, J.C.; Trigo, R.M.; Nieto, R.; Gimeno, L. (2024). Insights into the origin of precipitation moisture for tropical cyclones during rapid intensification process. Tropical Cyclone Research and Review 13(2).



In this study, we identified the moisture sources for the precipitation associated with tropical cyclones (TCs) during the rapid intensification (RI) process from 1980 to 2018 by applying a Lagrangian moisture source diagnostic method. We detected sixteen regions on a global scale for RI events distributed as follows: four in the North Atlantic (NATL), two in the Central and East Pacific Ocean (NEPAC), the North Indian Ocean (NIO) and South Indian Ocean (SIO), and three in the South Pacific Ocean (SPO) and the Western North Pacific Ocean (WNP). The moisture uptake (MU) mostly was from the regions where TCs underwent RI. The Western NATL, tropical NATL, Caribbean Sea, the Gulf of Mexico and the Central America and Mexico landmass supported ∼85.4% of the precipitating moisture in the NATL, while the latter source and the eastern North Pacific Ocean provided the higher amount of moisture in NEPAC (∼84.3%). The Arabian Sea, the Bay of Bengal and the Indian Peninsula were the major moisture sources in NIO, contributing approximately 81.3%. The eastern and western parts of the Indian Ocean supplied most of the atmospheric humidity in SIO (∼83.8%). The combined contributions (∼87.9%) from the western and central SPO and the Coral Sea were notably higher in SPO. Meanwhile, TCs in the WNP basin mostly received moisture from the western North Pacific Ocean, the Philippine Sea and the China Sea, accounting for 80.1%. The remaining moisture support in each basin came from the summed contributions of the remote sources. Overall, RI TCs gained more moisture up to 2500 km from the cyclone centre than those slow intensification (SI) and the total MU was approximately three times higher during RI than SI. Finally, the patterns of the MU differences respond to the typical pathways of moisture transport in each basin.