Directional Wave Spectra Observed During Intense Tropical Cyclones

C. O. Collins, H. Potter, B. Lund, H. Tamura, H. C. Graber

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

14 Scopus citations


Two deep-sea moorings were deployed 780 km off the coast of southern Taiwan for 4–5 months during the 2010 typhoon season. Directional wave spectra, wind speed and direction, and momentum fluxes were recorded on two Extreme Air-Sea Interaction buoys during the close passage of Severe Tropical Storm Dianmu and three tropical cyclones (TCs): Typhoon Fanapi, Super Typhoon Megi, and Typhoon Chaba. Conditions sampled include significant wave heights up to 11 m and wind speeds up to 26 m s−1. Details varied for large-scale spectral structure in frequency and direction but were mostly bimodal. The modes were generally composed of a swell system emanating from the most intense storm region and local wind-seas. The peak systems were consistently young, meaning actively forced by winds, when the storms were close. During the peaks of the most intense passages—Chaba at the northern mooring and Megi at the southern—the bimodal seas coalesced. During Chaba, the swell and wind-sea coupling directed the high frequency waves and the wind stress away from the wind direction. A spectral wave model was able reproduce many of the macrofeatures of the directional spectra.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)773-793
Number of pages21
JournalJournal of Geophysical Research: Oceans
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 2018


  • air-sea interaction
  • directional wave spectra
  • high winds
  • measurements
  • ocean waves
  • tropical cyclone

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geochemistry and Petrology
  • Geophysics
  • Earth and Planetary Sciences (miscellaneous)
  • Space and Planetary Science
  • Oceanography


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