Air-sea Enthalpy and Momentum Exchange At Major Hurricane Wind Speeds Observed During CBLAST

Dr. Michael M. Bell

Research Assistant Professor

Naval Postgraduate School

Quantifying air-sea exchanges of enthalpy and momentum is important for understanding and skillfully predicting tropical cyclone intensity, but the magnitude of the corresponding wind-speed-dependent bulk exchange coefficients is largely unknown at major hurricane wind speeds greater than 50 m s-1. Since direct turbulent flux measurements in these conditions are extremely difficult, the momentum and enthalpy fluxes were respectively deduced via absolute angular momentum and total energy budgets. An error analysis of the methodology was performed to quantify and mitigate potentially significant uncertainties resulting from unresolved budget terms and observational errors. An analysis of six missions from the 2003 CBLAST field program in major hurricanes Fabian and Isabel was conducted using a new variational technique. The analysis indicates a near-surface mean drag coefficient (CD) of 2.4 x10-3 with a 46% standard deviation and a mean enthalpy coefficient (CK) of 1.0 x10-3 with a 40% standard deviation for wind speeds between 52 and 72 m s-1. These are the first known estimates of CK and the ratio of enthalpy to drag coefficient (CK/CD) in major hurricanes. The results suggest that there is no significant change in the magnitude of the bulk exchange coefficients estimated at minimal hurricane wind speeds, and that the ratio CK/CD does not significantly increase for wind speeds greater than 50 m s-1.


Thursday April 5, 2012, 3:30 PM - 4:30PM

Refreshments 3:15 PM

NCAR-Foothills Laboratory

3450 Mitchell Lane

Bldg 2 Auditorium (Rm1022)

Will this event be webcast to the public by NCAR|UCAR?: 
Announcement Timing: 
March 27, 2012 to April 5, 2012