|COMMUNITY WHITE PAPER||10.5270/OceanObs09.cwp.36|
The Ocean Observing System for Tropical Cyclone Intensification Forecasts and Studies
Gustavo Goni(1), Mark DeMaria(2), John Knaff(2), Charles Sampson(3), James Price(4), Avichal Mehra(5), Isaac Ginis(6), I-I Lin(7), Paul Sandery(8), Silvana Ramos-Buarque(9), M.M. Ali(10), Francis Bringas(11), Sim Aberson(12), Rick Lumpkin(12), Geeorge Halliwell(12), Chris Lauer(13), Eric Chassignet(14), Alberto Mavume(15), K. Kang(16)
Download this paper »
Tropical cyclones (TCs) occur in seven ocean basins: the tropical Atlantic, northeast Pacific, northwest Pacific, southwest Indian, north Indian, southeast Indian, and south Pacific (Fig.1) . While sea surface temperature (SST) plays a role in the genesis of TCs, the thermal structure of the upper ocean has been shown to be an important factor for tropical cyclone intensification  and , provided that the atmospheric conditions are also favorable. The intensification of TCs includes the interaction of very complex mechanisms, such as internal TC dynamics, upper ocean interaction, and atmosphere circulation. In general, the reduction of error in the forecast of TC intensity has lagged behind that of track because of the complexity of the intensification problem, and because in some cases the errors introduced in the track forecast are translated into the intensity forecast . Sudden or rapid TC intensification  has been linked with high values of upper ocean heat content contained in mesoscale features, particularly warm ocean eddies. Therefore, resolving, understanding, and monitoring the upper ocean mesoscale field and its vertical thermal structure appear to be critical elements for TC intensification studies and forecasts.
The current ocean observing system was not designed for TC intensification or forecasting studies. In most basins, the available hydrographic and in situ observations cannot resolve mesoscale features and their vertical thermal structure with a spatial and temporal resolution sufficient for TC intensification research or forecast. The present suite of vertical temperature profile observations are dominated by observations from profiling floats that are somewhat widely and unevenly spaced and by eXpendable BathyThermograph (XBT) transects that provide better spatial resolution but only along fixed tracks (Fig. 2, left panel). Therefore, a variety of indirect approaches and techniques are needed to estimate the upper ocean heat content. One such technique includes the use of sea surface height observations derived from satellite altimetry. These satellite-derived data provide information on the upper ocean dynamics and vertical thermal structure at a spatial and temporal resolution that resolves ocean mesoscale features.
This manuscript highlights the importance of integrated ocean data, particularly satellite derived observations and their concurrent analysis with hydrographic observations and within numerical air-sea coupled and forced ocean models. The TC intensity forecast in some basins has already incorporated upper ocean thermal information either in research or operational mode. This manuscript provides a summary of how the combination of data from several ocean observing platforms, including hydrographic, airborne, and satellite-derived observations, are being used for TC intensification studies and forecasts.
Correspondence should be addressed to E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
This paper shall be cited as:
Goni, G. & Co-Authors (2010). "The Ocean Observing System for Tropical Cyclone Intensification Forecasts and Studies" in Proceedings of OceanObs’09: Sustained Ocean Observations and Information for Society (Vol. 2), Venice, Italy, 21-25 September 2009, Hall, J., Harrison, D.E. & Stammer, D., Eds., ESA Publication WPP-306, doi:10.5270/OceanObs09.cwp.36
Rights to reproduction of individual articles are held by the authors. The source of the article (these proceedings) shall be cited.