The role of oceanic mesoscale features on the tropical cyclone-induced mixed layer response: A case study

S. Daniel Jacob, Lynn K. Shay

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

95 Scopus citations


Oceanic mixed layer (ML) response to Hurricane Gilbert in the western Gulf of Mexico is investigated in this paper using the Miami Isopycnic Coordinate Ocean Model (MICOM). Three snapshots of oceanic observations indicated that a Loop Current Warm Core Eddy (LCWCE) contributed significantly to the ML heat and mass budgets. To examine the time evolution of different physical processes in the ML, MICOM is initialized with realistic, climatological, and quiescent conditions for the same realistic forcing. The ML evolves differently for the realistic background condition with the LCWCE in the domain: differences between climatological and quiescent conditions remain small. Mixed layer temperature (MLT) and ML depth (MLD) differences of up to 1°C and 30 m are directly attributed to horizontal advective processes in the LCWCE regime due to preexisting velocities. Comparison of simulated temperatures using realistic conditions in the model shows improved agreement with profiler observations. Using four entrainment mixing parameterizations, the spatial and temporal ML evolution is investigated in MICOM simulations. Although the rates of simulated cooling and deepening differ for the four schemes, the overall pattern remains qualitatively similar. For the three schemes that use surface-induced turbulence to predict entrainment rate, the cooling pattern extends farther away from the track. Based on linear regression analysis. MLTs simulated using the bulk Richardson number closure fit the observed temperatures better than the other schemes. Averaged surface fluxes ranged from 10% to 30% in the directly forced region, with larger values in the LCWCE regime. Overall, entrainment mixing remains the dominant mechanism in controlling the heat and mass budgets.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)649-676
Number of pages28
JournalJournal of Physical Oceanography
Issue number4
StatePublished - Apr 2003

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oceanography


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