Loop current interactions during hurricanes ISIDORE and LILI

Lynn K. Shay, Eric W. Uhlhorn

Research output: Contribution to conferencePaperpeer-review

2 Scopus citations


Pre-existing ocean current structure advects deep, warm therma l layers, which limits cooling induced by these physical processes (e.g. less negative feedback) as more turbulent-induced mixing is required to cool and deepen the OML. Energetic oceanic current features, which are part of the gyre circulation in the Atlantic Ocean Basin, are characterized as deep, warm thermal regimes with OHC values exceeding 100 kJ cm-2. For intensity forecasting, inclusion of pre-storm OHC in SHIPS has already shown a reduction of 5 to 15% in intensity errors (DeMaria et al. 2005; Mainelli et al. 2006). The extent of cooling in the cold wake is a function of vertical current shears (known as entrainment heat flux) that reduce the Richardson numbers to below criticality and subsequently cools and deepens the OML through vigorous mixing. The key finding emerging from our research is the OHC is a more effective measure of the ocean's influence on storm intensity than just SST as recently shown during the passage of hurricanes Katrina, Rita and Wilma. Pre-storm ocean structure must be accurately accounted for in the models with realistic ocean mixing parameterization schemes based on measurement. By contrast, thin OML deepen and cool quickly through shear instability (Price 1981; Shay 2001; Jacob et al. 2000) and induce negative feedback to the atmosphere. In regimes of deep OML, there is significantly reduced negative (or positive) feedback, as the upper ocean does not significantly cool. To further our understanding of these feedback regimes, empirical, analytical, and numerical approaches are required to examine complex air-sea processes and storm intensity changes. In situ data (D'Asaro 2003; Uhlhorn and Shay 2004) are needed to not only improve satellite algorithms and retrievals but to get the basic state in the ocean models such as HYCOM.

Original languageEnglish (US)
StatePublished - 2006
Event27th Conference on Hurricanes and Tropical Meteorology - Monterey, CA, United States
Duration: Apr 24 2006Apr 26 2006


Other27th Conference on Hurricanes and Tropical Meteorology
Country/TerritoryUnited States
CityMonterey, CA

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Environmental Engineering
  • Global and Planetary Change


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