In situ measurements of momentum fluxes in typhoons

Henry Potter, Hans C. Graber, Neil J. Williams, Clarence O. Collins, Rafael J. Ramos, William M. Drennan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

40 Scopus citations


One of the scientific objectives of the U.S. Office of Naval Research-sponsored Impact of Typhoons on the Ocean in the Pacific (ITOP) campaign was improved understanding of air-sea fluxes at high wind speeds. Here the authors present the first-ever direct measurements of momentum fluxes recorded in typhoons near the surface. Data were collected from a moored buoy over 3 months during the 2010 Pacific typhoon season. During this period, three typhoons and a tropical storm were encountered. Maximum 30-min sustained wind speeds above 26 ms-1 were recorded. Data are presented for 1245 h of direct flux measurements. The drag coefficient shows evidence of a rolloff at wind speeds greater than 22 ms-1, which occurred during the passage of a single typhoon. This result is in agreement with other studies but occurs at a lower wind speed than previously measured. The authors conclude that this rolloff was caused by a reduction in the turbulent momentum flux at the frequency of the peak waves during strongly forced conditions.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)104-118
Number of pages15
JournalJournal of the Atmospheric Sciences
Issue number1
StatePublished - 2015


  • Atmosphere-ocean interaction
  • Hurricanes/typhoons
  • Marine boundary layer

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Atmospheric Science


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