Ocean response to typhoon Nuri (2008) in western Pacific and South China Sea

Jingru Sun, Lie Yauw Oey, Roger Chang, Fanghua Xu, Shih Ming Huang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

41 Scopus citations

Abstract

Typhoon Nuri formed on 18 August 2008 in the western North Pacific east of the Philippines and traversed northwestward over the Kuroshio in the Luzon Strait where it intensified to a category 3 typhoon. The storm weakened as it passed over South China Sea (SCS) and made landfall in Hong Kong as a category 1 typhoon on 22 August. Despite the storm’s modest strength, the change in typhoon Nuri’s intensity was unique in that it strongly depended on the upper ocean. This study examines the ocean response to typhoon Nuri using the Princeton Ocean Model. An ocean state accounting for the sea-surface temperature (SST) and mesoscale eddy field prior to Nuri was constructed by assimilating satellite SST and altimetry data 12 days before the storm. The simulation then continued without further data assimilation, so that the ocean response to the strong wind can be used to understand processes. It is found that the SST cooling was biased to the right of the storm’s track due to inertial currents that rotated in the same sense as the wind vector, as has previously been found in the literature. However, despite the comparable wind speeds while the storm was in western Pacific and SCS, the SST cooling was much more intense in SCS. The reason was because in SCS, the surface layer was thinner, the vorticity field of the Kuroshio was cyclonic, and moreover a combination of larger Coriolis frequency as the storm moved northward and the typhoon’s slower translational speed produced a stronger resonance between wind and current, resulting in strong shears and entrainment of cool subsurface waters in the upper ocean.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)735-749
Number of pages15
JournalOcean Dynamics
Volume65
Issue number5
DOIs
StatePublished - 1 May 2015

Keywords

  • Inertial currents
  • Near-inertial internal waves
  • Resonance between wind and ocean current
  • South China Sea
  • Typhoon Nuri
  • Upper ocean response
  • Western North Pacific Ocean

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