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Numerical investigation of an oceanic resonant regime induced by hurricane winds

Abstract : The oceanic mixed layer (OML) response to an idealized hurricane with different propagation speeds is investigated using a two-layer reduced gravity ocean model. First, the model performances are examined with respect to available observations relative to Hurricane Frances (2004). Then, 11 idealized simulations are performed with a Holland (Mon Weather Rev 108(8):1212-1218, 1980) symmetric wind profile as surface forcing with storm propagation speeds ranging from 2 to 12 m s−1. By varying this parameter, the phasing between atmospheric and oceanic scales is modified. Consequently, it leads to different momentum exchanges between the hurricane and the OML and to various oceanic responses. The present study determines how OML momentum and heat budgets depend on this parameter. The kinetic energy flux due to surface wind stress is found to strongly depend on the propagation speed and on the cross-track distance from the hurricane center. A resonant regime between surface winds and near-inertial currents is clearly identified. This regime maximizes locally the energy flux into the OML. For fast-moving hurricanes (\textgreater6 m s−1), the ratio of kinetic energy converted into turbulence depends only on the wind stress energy input. For slow-moving hurricanes (\textless6 m s−1), the upwelling induced by current divergence enhances this conversion by shallowing the OML depth. Regarding the thermodynamic response, two regimes are identified with respect to the propagation speed. For slow-moving hurricanes, the upwelling combined with a sharp temperature gradient at the OML base formed in the leading part of the storm maximizes the oceanic heat loss. For fast propagation speeds, the resonance mechanism sets up the cold wake on the right side of the hurricane track. These results suggest that the propagation speed is a parameter as important as the surface wind speed to accurately describe the oceanic response to a moving hurricane.
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Submitted on : Thursday, March 20, 2014 - 8:20:11 AM
Last modification on : Friday, January 10, 2020 - 9:08:51 PM

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Guillaume Samson, Hervé Giordani, Guy Caniaux, Frank Roux. Numerical investigation of an oceanic resonant regime induced by hurricane winds. Ocean Dynamics, Springer Verlag, 2009, 59 (4), pp.565--586. ⟨10.1007/s10236-009-0203-8⟩. ⟨hal-00961375⟩

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