One of the known facts about landfalling hurricanes is their rapid decay, yet some of them retain tropical storm winds and gusts well inland. While studies have shown that the reduction in surface evaporation is a reason for hurricane decay during landfall, little is known about the effect of land surface water on the intensity of hurricanes.
In a recent issue of the Journal of Atmospheric Sciences, URI Graduate School of Oceanography (GSO) physical oceanographer Isaac Ginis, Weixing Shen, formerly with GSO and now at NOAA’s National Center for Environmental Prediction, and Robert E. Tuleya of NOAA’s Geophysical Fluid Dynamics Laboratory (GFDL) in Princeton, New Jersey, studied the effect of land surface water on hurricane intensity. The team found that under some conditions, the presence of less than two feet of water could noticeably reduce landfall decay.
Previous studies of land-falling hurricanes used fixed underlying surface conditions. The current study, using the GFDL hurricane model, investigated the effects of land surface water on land-falling hurricanes, including surface temperature changes and their influence on changes in surface heat, hurricane structure, and intensity. The team of scientists used a range of water depths and surface roughness conditions to correspond to a possible array of surface conditions.
Lisa Cugini | EurekAlert!
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