Air-sea fluxes for Hurricane Patricia (2015): Comparison with supertyphoon Haiyan (2013) and under different ENSO conditions

Hsiao Ching Huang, Julien Boucharel, I. I. Lin, Fei Fei Jin, Chun Chi Lien, Iam Fei Pun

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

11 Scopus citations

Abstract

Hurricane Patricia formed on 20 October 2015 in the Eastern Pacific and, in less than 3 days, rapidly intensified from a Tropical Storm to a record-breaking hurricane with maximum sustained winds measured around 185 knots. It is almost 15 knots higher than 2013's supertyphoon Haiyan (the previous strongest tropical cyclone (TC) ever observed). This research focuses on analyzing the air-sea enthalpy flux conditions that contributed to Hurricane Patricia's rapid intensification, and comparing them to supertyphoon Haiyan's. Despite a stronger cooling effect, a higher enthalpy flux supply is found during Patricia, in particular due to warmer pre-TC sea surface temperature conditions. This resulted in larger temperature and humidity differences at the air-sea interface, contributing to larger air-sea enthalpy heat fluxes available for Patricia's growth (24% more than for Haiyan). In addition, air-sea fluxes simulations were performed for Hurricane Patricia under different climate conditions to assess specifically the impact of local and large-scale conditions on storm intensification associated with six different phases and types of El Niño Southern Oscillation (ENSO) and long-term climatological summer condition. We found that the Eastern Pacific El Niño developing and decaying summers, and the Central Pacific El Niño developing summer are the three most favorable ENSO conditions for storm intensification. This still represents a 37% smaller flux supply than in October 2015, suggesting that Patricia extraordinary growth is not achievable under any of these typical ENSO conditions but rather the result of the exceptional environmental conditions associated with the buildup of the strongest El Niño ever recorded.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)6076-6089
Number of pages14
JournalJournal of Geophysical Research: Oceans
Volume122
Issue number8
DOIs
StatePublished - Aug 2017

Keywords

  • air-sea flux
  • cooling effect
  • Eastern Pacific
  • ENSO
  • Hurricane Patricia

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