Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Oceanographers Combine Numerical Models To Improve Hurricane Research

Date:
December 17, 2004
Source:
University Of Rhode Island
Summary:
University of Rhode Island physical oceanographers are investigating the how surface waves and wind affect the dynamics of growing seas and complex seas under extreme hurricane conditions using a combination of computer models.

Hurricane Fran, 1996.
Credit: s: Hasler, Chesters, Griswold, Pierce, Palaniappan, Manyin, Summey, Starr, Kenitzer, & de La Beaujardiθre, Laboratory for Atmospheres, NASA Goddard Space Flight Center

Understanding how the air and sea interact and affect each other during hurricane conditions is crucial in predicting the storm track, its intensity, storm surges, and ocean wave fields. When scientists create computer models to help them assess the parameters of a hurricane, they must take into account not only the atmospheric conditions of the storm, but also the conditions in the ocean, including the age and the frequency of waves.

In the current issue of the Journal of the Atmospheric Sciences, University of Rhode Island physical oceanographers Il-Ju Moon, Isaac Ginis and Tetsu Hara have published two companion papers that investigate the how surface waves and wind affect the dynamics of growing seas and complex seas under extreme hurricane conditions using a combination of computer models. Other collaborators on the project include Stephen Belcher, Department of Meteorology, University of Reading, Berkshire, England, and Hendrik Tolman, the NOAA National Center for Environmental Prediction Environmental Modeling Center, Camp Springs, MD.

The team of scientists combined three computer models to ascertain their results. The NOAA WAVEWATCH III ocean surface wave model accounts for wind input, wave-wave interaction and dissipation due to whitecapping, and wave-bottom interaction. The equilibrium spectrum model, created by Hara and Belcher, estimates the effect of the wind on the ocean by taking into account the stress caused by the waves. The wave boundary layer model, also created by Hara and Belcher, explicitly calculates the near-surface wind profile, as well as the surface drag created by the waves. In the first study, the combined model predicted the effect of the wind-wave interaction by calculating how the waves contribute to the dynamics of a mature and growing sea. The second study followed the same approach, but focused on the effect of surface waves on air-sea exchange in extreme complex seas forced by tropical cyclones.

The scientists found a new characterization of the effect of surface waves on air-sea momentum under hurricane wind forcing. The size and location of the waves as well as the wind speed and direction and their impact on the other create a variety of conditions that can affect the track and intensity of a hurricane. The research team determined that the coupling of a surface wave model with a hurricane model is necessary for accurate predictions of track and intensity. This finding is significant because the wind-wave interaction is presently ignored by hurricane prediction models.

"There have been impressive strides taken in the quality of hurricane track forecasting over the last 10 years mainly due to improved computer models," said Ginis. "However, there appears to be still limited skill in predicting storm intensity changes. In light of the fundamental role the air-sea interaction processes play in supplying energy to the hurricane, our results seem to be promising for major improvements in hurricane intensity forecasting."

The combined models used in this project have helped scientists to further understand the interaction of the atmosphere and the ocean by introducing parameters that describe the ocean waves under high wind conditions, including during a tropical cyclone. Additional factors, such as the effect of breaking waves and sea spray, may also play an important role in air-sea interaction and momentum, but the team of scientists predicts that adding parameters will only further confirm their results.

###

The URI Graduate School of Oceanography is one of the country's largest marine science education programs, and one of the world's foremost marine research institutions. Founded in 1961 in Narragansett, RI, GSO serves a community of scientists who are researching the causes of and solutions to such problems as harmful algal blooms, global warming, air and water pollution, oil spills, overfishing, and coastal erosion. GSO is home to the Coastal Institute, the Coastal Resources Center, Rhode Island Sea Grant, the Institute for Archaeological Oceanography, the Pell Marine Science Library, and the National Sea Grant Library.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University Of Rhode Island. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

University Of Rhode Island. "Oceanographers Combine Numerical Models To Improve Hurricane Research." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 17 December 2004. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2004/11/041123210203.htm>.
University Of Rhode Island. (2004, December 17). Oceanographers Combine Numerical Models To Improve Hurricane Research. ScienceDaily. Retrieved July 24, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2004/11/041123210203.htm
University Of Rhode Island. "Oceanographers Combine Numerical Models To Improve Hurricane Research." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2004/11/041123210203.htm (accessed July 24, 2014).

Share This




More Earth & Climate News

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Goma Cheese Brings Whiff of New Hope to DRC

Goma Cheese Brings Whiff of New Hope to DRC

Reuters - Business Video Online (July 24, 2014) — The eastern region of the Democratic Republic of Congo, mainly known for conflict and instability, is an unlikely place for the production of fine cheese. But a farm in the village of Masisi, in North Kivu is slowly transforming perceptions of the area. Known simply as Goma cheese, the Congolese version of Dutch gouda has gained popularity through out the region. Ciara Sutton reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Bill Gates: Health, Agriculture Key to Africa's Development

Bill Gates: Health, Agriculture Key to Africa's Development

AFP (July 24, 2014) — Health and agriculture development are key if African countries are to overcome poverty and grow, US software billionaire Bill Gates said Thursday, as he received an honourary degree in Ethiopia. Duration: 00:36 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Higgins Breaks Record at Mt. Washington

Higgins Breaks Record at Mt. Washington

Driving Sports (July 24, 2014) — Subaru Rally Team USA drivers David Higgins and Travis Pastrana face off against a global contingent of racers at the annual Mt. Washington Hillclimb in New Hampshire. Includes exclusive in-car footage from Higgins' record attempt. Video provided by Driving Sports
Powered by NewsLook.com
Storm Kills Three, Injures 20 at Virginia Campground

Storm Kills Three, Injures 20 at Virginia Campground

Reuters - US Online Video (July 24, 2014) — A likely tornado tears through an eastern Virginia campground, killing three and injuring at least 20. Linda So reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
 
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:  

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

    Health News

      Environment News

        Technology News



          Save/Print:
          Share:  

          Free Subscriptions


          Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

          Get Social & Mobile


          Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

          Have Feedback?


          Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
          Mobile iPhone Android Web
          Follow Facebook Twitter Google+
          Subscribe RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
          Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins