Journal of Oceanography

, Volume 64, Issue 1, pp 115–130 | Cite as

The upper ocean response to a moving typhoon

  • Yaling Tsai
  • Ching-Sheng ChernEmail author
  • Joe Wang
Original Articles


The upper ocean response to the translation speed of typhoons is studied using a three-dimensional primitive equation model. Similar models studied previously have applied stability criteria rather than the diffusion term to simulate the vertical mixing process. This study retains the diffusion term and uses the level-2 turbulence closure scheme to estimate the vertical eddy viscosity. The model results indicate that in the forced period, the mixed-layer temperature decrease is greater for a slow-moving storm due to stronger upwelling caused by the longer residence time. A fast-moving storm can attain a similar cooling intensity in the wake period if its residence time allows the wind to resonate with the current. The significant downward momentum diffusion and advection in the first few inertial periods of these events leads to strong, persistent inertial pumping throughout the upper ocean in the wake period. The mixed layer is further cooled by turbulent mixing supported by vertical current shears. Meanwhile, the upper thermocline exhibits a compensating temperature increase. The vertical transfer magnitude and penetration scale are smaller in the slow-moving case, when the inertial motion decays rapidly. The model results also indicate that the dominant cooling process can be inferred from the non-dimensional storm speed. However, this value may be misleading for rapidly moving storms in which the current response is so distant from the storm that little wind work is performed on the ocean.


Typhoon mixed layer cooling inertial motion entrainment mixing resonant response 


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. Chang, S. W. and R. A. Anthes (1978): Numerical simulations of the ocean’s nonlinear baroclinic response to translating hurricanes. J. Phys. Oceanogr., 8, 468–480.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Chen, Y. K. (2006): Typhoon induced inertial motion in the South China Sea. Master thesis, Institute of Oceanography, National Taiwan University, 98 pp. (in Chinese).Google Scholar
  3. Cione, J. J. and E. W. Uhlhorn (2003): Sea surface temperature variability in hurricanes: implications with respect to intensity change. Mon. Wea. Rev., 131, 1783–1796.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Crawford, G. B. and W. G. Large (1996): A numerical investigation of resonant inertial response of the ocean to wind forcing. J. Phys. Oceanogr., 26, 873–891.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. D’Asaro, E. A. (2003): The ocean boundary layer below Hurricane Dennis. J. Phys. Oceanogr., 33, 561–579.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Emanuel, K. (2001): Contribution of tropical cyclones to meridional heat transport by the oceans. J. Geophys. Res., 106,D14, 14771–14781.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Geisler, J. E. (1970): Linear theory of the response of a two-layer ocean to a moving hurricane. Geophys. Fluid Dyn., 1, 249–272.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Greatbatch, R. J. (1984): On the response of the ocean to a moving storm: parameters and scales. J. Phys. Oceanogr., 14, 59–78.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Holland, G. J. (1980): An analytic model of the wind and pressure profiles in hurricanes. Mon. Wea. Rev., 108, 1212–1218.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Jocob, S. D., L. K. Shay and A. J. Mariano (2000): The 3D oceanic mixed layer response to Hurricane Gilbert. J. Phys. Oceanogr., 30, 1407–1429.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Mellor, G. L. and P. A. Durbin (1975): The structure and dynamics of the ocean surface mixed layer. J. Phys. Oceanogr., 5, 718–728.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Plueddemann, A. J. and J. T. Farrar (2006): Observations and models of the energy flux from the wind to mixed-layer inertial currents. Deep-Sea Res. II, 53, 5–30.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Pollard, R. T. and R. C. Millard, Jr. (1970): Comparison between observed and simulated wind-generated inertial oscillations. Deep-Sea Res., 17, 813–821.Google Scholar
  14. Price, J. F. (1981): Upper ocean response to a hurricane. J. Phys. Oceanogr., 11, 153–175.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Price, J. F. (1983): Internal wave wake of a moving storm. Part I: scales energy budget and observations. J. Phys. Oceanogr., 13, 949–965.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Price, J. F., T. B. Sanford and G. Z. Forristall (1994): Forced stage response to a moving hurricane. J. Phys. Oceanogr., 24, 233–260.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Semtner, A. J. and Y. Mintz (1977): Numerical simulation of the Gulf Stream and mid-ocean eddies. J. Phys. Oceanogr., 7, 208–230.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Shay, L. K., R. L. Elsberry and P. G. Black (1989): Vertical structure of the ocean current response to a hurricane. J. Phys. Oceanogr., 19, 649–669.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Wada, A. (2002): The processes of SST cooling by typhoon passage and case study of typhoon Rex with a mixed layer ocean model. Pap. Meteor. Geophys., 52, 31–66.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Wada, A. (2005): Numerical simulations of sea surface cooling by a mixed layer model during the passage of typhoon Rex. J. Oceanogr., 61, 41–57.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Zedler, S. E., T. D. Dickey, S. C. Doney, J. F. Price, X. Yu and G. L. Mellor (2002): Analyses and simulations of the upper ocean’s response to Hurricane Felix at the Bermuda Testbed Mooring site: 13–23 August 1995. J. Geophys. Res., 107,C12, 3232, doi:10.1029/2001JC000969.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© The Oceanographic Society of Japan/TERRAPUB/Springer 2008

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Institute of OceanographyNational Taiwan UniversityTaipeiTaiwan, R.O.C.

Personalised recommendations