Analyzing Relationships between Tropical Cyclone Intensity and Rain Rate over the Ocean Using Numerical Simulations

Dazhi Xi, Shuai Wang, Ning Lin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


In this study, the relationship between tropical cyclone (TC) intensity and rain rate over the ocean is investigated using a full-physics numerical model (WRF) and a physics-based TC rainfall model (TCR). TC intensity is found to be nearly linearly correlated with the average rain rate in the inner core [;0.97 (mm h21 m22)/(m s21)], while the correlation is weak at outer radii. This difference is induced because TC intensity is significantly correlated with both the vertical velocity and specific humidity in the inner core but is not significantly correlated with the vertical velocity in the outer radii. Further investigation shows that the intensity-rain-rate relationship at the outer radii is influenced by the TC evolution stage. The rain rate for the outer radii is positively correlated with TC intensity for nondecaying TCs, while this correlation is reduced for decaying TCs due to systematic downdrafts in the outer radii. In the context of climate change, the sensitivity of the TC rain rate to sea surface temperature (SST) is found to be 19% per 1 K increase of SST, roughly the product of the sensitivity of TC intensity to SST (13%) and the Clausius-Clapeyron scaling (17%). Coupled with synthetic storms, evolution of the TC rain rate over the twenty-first century under the SSP5-8.5 scenario is projected by the TCR (calibrated with the WRF simulations). The annual increase rates of averaged TC rain rate are 0.17% and 0.20% for the inner core and outer radii, respectively, larger than the annual increase rate of TC intensity (0.046%) but comparable to that of cube of intensity (0.18%).

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)81-91
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Climate
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1 2023

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Atmospheric Science


  • Atmosphere
  • Climate change
  • Model evaluation/performance
  • Rainfall
  • Tropical cyclones


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