Warm ocean anomaly, air sea fluxes, and the rapid intensification of tropical cyclone Nargis (2008)

I. I. Lin, Chi Hong Chen, Iam Fei Pun, W. Timothy Liu, Chun Chieh Wu

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Abstract

On 2 May 2008, category-4 tropical cyclone Nargis devastated Myanmar. It was observed that just prior to its landfall, Nargis rapidly intensified from a weak category-1 storm to an intense category-4 storm within only 24 h. Using in situ ocean depth-temperature measurements and satellite altimetry, it is found that Nargis' rapid intensification took place on a pre-existing warm ocean anomaly in the Bay of Bengal. In the anomaly, the subsurface ocean is evidently warmer than climatology, as characterized by the depth of the 26°C isotherm of 73-101 m and the tropical cyclone heat potential of 77-105 kj cm -2. This pre-existing deep, warm subsurface layer leads to reduction in the cyclone-induced ocean cooling, as shown from the ocean mixed layer numerical experiments. As a result, there was a near 300% increase in the air-sea enthalpy flux to support Nargis' rapid intensification.

Original languageEnglish
Article numberL03817
JournalGeophysical Research Letters
Volume36
Issue number3
DOIs
StatePublished - 16 Feb 2009

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