Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Typhoons rain away wrath

01.04.2015

Accurately anticipating an approaching typhoon's destructive force makes all the difference in advance preparations and as a consequence, the cost in lives. But over the decades, climate scientists have not made the same headway in this regard as they have in predicting a typhoon's trajectory.

Researchers at the Okinawa Institute of Science and Technology Graduate University (OIST) have found that an aspect of a typhoon being ignored by current forecasting models plays a significant role in determining the level of havoc it will wreak upon landfall.


Heaviness of rainfall around the typhoon's center is marked by red, green and blue in that order. Areas with the heaviest rainfall, in red and green are around the central column. The Tropical Rainfall Measuring Mission (TRMM) satellite which captured the image is a joint mission between NASA and JAXA.

Credit: NASA Earth Observatory.

Typhoons dump a lot of water in the form of rain. The researchers have demonstrated that the energy lost to friction between this falling rain and the whipping winds of a typhoon can lessen the typhoon's destructive force, or intensity, by as much as 30 percent.

The paper, authored by researchers from OIST's Fluid Mechanics Unit and Continuum Physics Unit, appeared online in Geophysical Research Letters.

The intensity of a typhoon is set by the wind speed at the base of the typhoon's central column. To predict this speed, scientists currently model typhoons as engines fueled by heat from the ocean water.

Heat is carried away from the ocean surface by hot water vapor. This vapor is collected by the spiraling winds of the typhoon and tossed up along the typhoon's central column. As it moves away from the warmth of the ocean, it cools back to water and falls as rain. In the typhoon's central column itself this rainfall amounts to some 2 trillion liters of water per day, which is comparable to a large river falling out of the sky.

"The pace at which energy is lost to friction between rain and winds in a single typhoon would be sufficient to keep the Japanese economy running," said Tapan Sabuwala from OIST's Continuum Physics Unit, the first author of the paper.

The OIST researchers compared their predictions of typhoon intensity to satellite data compiled over the past thirty years and found that the margins of error between prediction and observation reduced significantly when the friction between rain and winds was factored in.

"For this study we used a simple mathematical model. We are now looking into state-of-the-art models that people use for actual forecasting," said Pinaki Chakraborty, head of OIST's Fluid Mechanics Unit.

Climate change is increasing ocean temperatures worldwide. This is expected to lead to stronger typhoons. Predicting their intensities accurately will be crucial to anticipating damages and minimizing loss of lives. The OIST research is a major step in this direction.

Media Contact

Kaoru Natori
kaoru.natori@oist.jp
81-989-662-389

 @oistedu

http://www.oist.jp/ 

Kaoru Natori | EurekAlert!

More articles from Earth Sciences:

nachricht Climate satellite: Tracking methane with robust laser technology
22.06.2017 | Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft

nachricht How reliable are shells as climate archives?
21.06.2017 | Leibniz-Zentrum für Marine Tropenforschung (ZMT)

All articles from Earth Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Can we see monkeys from space? Emerging technologies to map biodiversity

An international team of scientists has proposed a new multi-disciplinary approach in which an array of new technologies will allow us to map biodiversity and the risks that wildlife is facing at the scale of whole landscapes. The findings are published in Nature Ecology and Evolution. This international research is led by the Kunming Institute of Zoology from China, University of East Anglia, University of Leicester and the Leibniz Institute for Zoo and Wildlife Research.

Using a combination of satellite and ground data, the team proposes that it is now possible to map biodiversity with an accuracy that has not been previously...

Im Focus: Climate satellite: Tracking methane with robust laser technology

Heatwaves in the Arctic, longer periods of vegetation in Europe, severe floods in West Africa – starting in 2021, scientists want to explore the emissions of the greenhouse gas methane with the German-French satellite MERLIN. This is made possible by a new robust laser system of the Fraunhofer Institute for Laser Technology ILT in Aachen, which achieves unprecedented measurement accuracy.

Methane is primarily the result of the decomposition of organic matter. The gas has a 25 times greater warming potential than carbon dioxide, but is not as...

Im Focus: How protons move through a fuel cell

Hydrogen is regarded as the energy source of the future: It is produced with solar power and can be used to generate heat and electricity in fuel cells. Empa researchers have now succeeded in decoding the movement of hydrogen ions in crystals – a key step towards more efficient energy conversion in the hydrogen industry of tomorrow.

As charge carriers, electrons and ions play the leading role in electrochemical energy storage devices and converters such as batteries and fuel cells. Proton...

Im Focus: A unique data centre for cosmological simulations

Scientists from the Excellence Cluster Universe at the Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität Munich have establised "Cosmowebportal", a unique data centre for cosmological simulations located at the Leibniz Supercomputing Centre (LRZ) of the Bavarian Academy of Sciences. The complete results of a series of large hydrodynamical cosmological simulations are available, with data volumes typically exceeding several hundred terabytes. Scientists worldwide can interactively explore these complex simulations via a web interface and directly access the results.

With current telescopes, scientists can observe our Universe’s galaxies and galaxy clusters and their distribution along an invisible cosmic web. From the...

Im Focus: Scientists develop molecular thermometer for contactless measurement using infrared light

Temperature measurements possible even on the smallest scale / Molecular ruby for use in material sciences, biology, and medicine

Chemists at Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz (JGU) in cooperation with researchers of the German Federal Institute for Materials Research and Testing (BAM)...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Plants are networkers

19.06.2017 | Event News

Digital Survival Training for Executives

13.06.2017 | Event News

Global Learning Council Summit 2017

13.06.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Quantum thermometer or optical refrigerator?

23.06.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

A 100-year-old physics problem has been solved at EPFL

23.06.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

Equipping form with function

23.06.2017 | Information Technology

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>