173 Coupled 3D Numerical Simulations of the Effects of Ocean Salinity on TC Intensity

Thursday, 19 April 2018
Champions DEFGH (Sawgrass Marriott)
James Hlywiak, RSMAS, Miami, FL; and D. Nolan
Manuscript (1.2 MB)

A general consensus regarding air-sea interactions within a Tropical Cyclone (TC) is that regions of higher ocean heat content (OHC) relative to that of the surrounding ocean favor TC intensification. However, recent studies have suggested that ocean systems featuring increased OHC, such as warm core eddies or western boundary currents, in close proximity to a passing TC do not necessarily lead to storm intensification. Weakening may even occur due to horizontal ocean processes such as advection and diffusion, or increased ocean mixed layer stability due to the presence of a barrier layer (BL). Therefore, numerical simulations of TCs over simplified 1D ocean mixed layer models that don’t account for horizontal processes such as advection of OHC and/or salinity are likely inadequate in determining intensity changes. In this study, idealized WRF simulations of TCs are coupled to the 3DPWP ocean model to better characterize an idealized hurricane-like vortex’s response to various realistic 3D ocean features. This framework provides strong constraint over TC intensity and structure while still allowing for more realistic interactions between the atmosphere and ocean.
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