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.
Kaoru Natori | EurekAlert!
Citizen science campaign to aid disaster response
28.04.2017 | International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis (IIASA)
From volcano's slope, NASA instrument looks sky high and to the future
27.04.2017 | NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center
More and more automobile companies are focusing on body parts made of carbon fiber reinforced plastics (CFRP). However, manufacturing and repair costs must be further reduced in order to make CFRP more economical in use. Together with the Volkswagen AG and five other partners in the project HolQueSt 3D, the Laser Zentrum Hannover e.V. (LZH) has developed laser processes for the automatic trimming, drilling and repair of three-dimensional components.
Automated manufacturing processes are the basis for ultimately establishing the series production of CFRP components. In the project HolQueSt 3D, the LZH has...
Reflecting the structure of composites found in nature and the ancient world, researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign have synthesized thin carbon nanotube (CNT) textiles that exhibit both high electrical conductivity and a level of toughness that is about fifty times higher than copper films, currently used in electronics.
"The structural robustness of thin metal films has significant importance for the reliable operation of smart skin and flexible electronics including...
The nearby, giant radio galaxy M87 hosts a supermassive black hole (BH) and is well-known for its bright jet dominating the spectrum over ten orders of magnitude in frequency. Due to its proximity, jet prominence, and the large black hole mass, M87 is the best laboratory for investigating the formation, acceleration, and collimation of relativistic jets. A research team led by Silke Britzen from the Max Planck Institute for Radio Astronomy in Bonn, Germany, has found strong indication for turbulent processes connecting the accretion disk and the jet of that galaxy providing insights into the longstanding problem of the origin of astrophysical jets.
Supermassive black holes form some of the most enigmatic phenomena in astrophysics. Their enormous energy output is supposed to be generated by the...
The probability to find a certain number of photons inside a laser pulse usually corresponds to a classical distribution of independent events, the so-called...
Microprocessors based on atomically thin materials hold the promise of the evolution of traditional processors as well as new applications in the field of flexible electronics. Now, a TU Wien research team led by Thomas Müller has made a breakthrough in this field as part of an ongoing research project.
Two-dimensional materials, or 2D materials for short, are extremely versatile, although – or often more precisely because – they are made up of just one or a...
28.04.2017 | Event News
20.04.2017 | Event News
18.04.2017 | Event News
28.04.2017 | Life Sciences
28.04.2017 | Life Sciences
28.04.2017 | Life Sciences