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Regional variations in the ocean response to tropical cyclones: Ocean mixing versus low cloud suppression

Huang, A; Hui, L; Sriver, RL; Fedorov, AV; Brierley, CM; (2017) Regional variations in the ocean response to tropical cyclones: Ocean mixing versus low cloud suppression. [Letter]. Geophysical Research Letters , 44 (4) pp. 1947-1955. 10.1002/2016GL072023. Green open access

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Abstract

Tropical cyclones (TCs) tend to cool sea surface temperature (SST) via enhanced vertical mixing and evaporative fluxes. This cooling is substantially reduced in the subtropics, especially in the northeastern Pacific where the occurrence of TCs can warm the ocean surface. Here we investigate the cause of this anomalous warming by analyzing the local oceanic features and TC-induced anomalies of SST, surface fluxes, and cloud fraction using satellite and in situ data. We find that TCs tend to suppress low clouds at the margins of the tropical ocean warm pool, enhancing shortwave radiative surface fluxes within the first week following storm passage, which, combined with spatial variations in ocean thermal structure, can produce a ~1°C near-surface warming in the northeastern Pacific. These findings, supported by high-resolution Earth system model simulations, point to potential connections between TCs, ocean temperature, and low cloud distributions that can influence tropical surface heat budgets.

Type: Article
Title: Regional variations in the ocean response to tropical cyclones: Ocean mixing versus low cloud suppression
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.1002/2016GL072023
Publisher version: http://doi.org/10.1002/2016GL072023
Language: English
Additional information: An edited version of this paper was published by AGU. Copyright © 2017 American Geophysical Union.
UCL classification: UCL
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH > Faculty of S&HS
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH > Faculty of S&HS > Dept of Geography
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/1541093
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