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Typhoon Impacts and Student Support

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These grants support efforts in the TC10ITOP Tropical Cyclone 2010 Impacts of Typhoons on the Ocean in the Pacific program. This program, joint between ONR and Taiwanese investigators, studied the ocean response to typhoons in the western Pacific Ocean in 2010. ITOP focused on the following scientific questions How does the cold wake of a typhoon form and dissipate Typhoons produce a complex three-dimensional response of the underlying ocean including strong surface currents, upwelling of the thermocline, intense mixing across the thermocline, the radiation of near-inertial internal waves and the formation of a cold wake behind the storm. The cold wake persists for at least several weeks after the typhoon passage, with a combination of solar heating, lateral mesoscale stirring, lateral mixing by baroclinic instability and continued vertical mixing determining the rate and character of wake dissipation. The wake is also expected to modify the atmospheric boundary layer and the biology and chemistry of the upper ocean, particularly pCO2. ITOP seeks to measure the ocean response in detail, with particular emphasis on the mechanisms of cold wake formation and dissipation, and to compare these measurements with model results. What are the air-sea fluxes for winds greater than 30 ms Tropical cyclones draw their energy from the underlying warm ocean. Their intensity depends on the exchanges with the ocean a greater flux of heat and moisture to the storm leads to a stronger storm, but a larger drag on the ocean leads to a weaker storm. These exchanges are poorly parameterized in existing typhoon forecast models leading to errors in the ability of these models to predict typhoon intensity. The first reliable estimates of the exchange coefficients at these high wind speeds, made during the last decade, have shown a dramatic decrease in drag coefficient relative to previous parameterizations.

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  • Meteorology

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