Document Type

Article

Date of Original Version

2016

Abstract

Tropical cyclones are fueled by the air–sea heat flux, which is reduced when the ocean surface cools due to mixed layer deepening and upwelling. Wave-driven Langmuir turbulence can significantly modify these processes. This study investigates the impact of sea-state-dependent Langmuir turbulence on the three-dimensional ocean response to a tropical cyclone in coupled wave–ocean simulations. The Stokes drift is computed from the simulated wave spectrum using the WAVEWATCH III wave model and passed to the three-dimensional Princeton Ocean Model. The Langmuir turbulence impact is included in the vertical mixing of the ocean model by adding the Stokes drift to the shear of the vertical mean current and by including Langmuir turbulence enhancements to the K-profile parameterization (KPP) scheme. Results are assessed by comparing simulations with explicit (sea-state dependent) and implicit (independent of sea state) Langmuir turbulence parameterizations, as well as with turbulence driven by shear alone. The results demonstrate that the sea-state-dependent Langmuir turbulence parameterization significantly modifies the three-dimensional ocean response to a tropical cyclone. This is due to the reduction of upwelling and horizontal advection where the near-surface currents are reduced by Langmuir turbulence. The implicit scheme not only misses the impact of sea-state dependence on the surface cooling, but it also misrepresents the impact of the Langmuir turbulence on the Eulerian advection. This suggests that explicitly resolving the sea-state-dependent Langmuir turbulence will lead to increased accuracy in predicting the ocean response in coupled tropical cyclone–ocean models.

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