EGU General Assembly 2022
© Author(s) 2022. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

Thermohaline response of the upper ocean to tropical cyclones. Observations and modelling.

Pavel Pivaev1,2, Vladimir Kudryavtsev2,1, Nicolas Reul3,4, and Bertrand Chapron3,2
Pavel Pivaev et al.
  • 1Marine Hydrophysical Institute of RAS, Remote Sensing Department, Sevastopol, Russia (
  • 2Russian State Hydrometeorological University, Satellite Oceanography Laboratory, Saint-Petersburg, Russia (
  • 3Ifremer, Laboratoire d’Oceanographie Spatiale, Plouzané, France (
  • 4University of Brest, IUEM,UBO–CNRS–IRD–Ifremer, Plouzané, France (

An impact of the upper ocean response to tropical cyclones (TC) is usually considered as a negative feedback mechanism between cooling of the mixed layer (ML) and intensity of a TC. Influence of TCs on the upper ocean is manifested as anomalies in sea surface temperature (SST) and sea surface salinity (SSS) in wakes of hurricanes, that can vary significantly along tracks of TCs (Reul et al. 2021). Proper modelling of ML dynamics is still vital to explain surface cooling observed in satellite and in situ data. Although numerous models of the ML evolution have been developed (e.g., Zilitinkevich et al. 1979, Gillian et al. 2020, and works cited therein including many schemes incorporated in numerical models), there is still a controversy as to turbulent closure schemes and simplified approaches that could allow for a quick and high quality assessment of ML parameters.

The purpose of the this work is to apply a simplified model of the upper ocean response to TCs suggested by Kudryavtsev et al. 2019 with barotropic and baroclinic modes resolved. To describe ML dynamics, results of Zilitinkevich and Esau (2003) are applied. The cases studied are those of hurricanes passing over the Amazon-Orinoco river plume: Igor (Reul et al. 2014), Katia (Grodsky et al. 2012) and Irma (Balaguru et al. 2020).

Best track parameters of the TCs are obtained from the IBTrACKS archive. Multi-source GHRSST data on SST as well as SMOS and SMAP satellite data on SSS are used to compare the observed ocean responses to the simulated ones. ISAS20 in situ archive data are used to provide vertical profiles of temperature and salinity as an input to the model. Precipitation and evaporation data are obtained from TRMM measurements and ERA5 reanalysis, respectively. Subsets of IBTrACKS, GHRSST, ISAS20, TRMM and ERA5 data specific to domain of a TC’s wake were produced by the Centre de Recherche et d'Exploitation Satellitaire (CERSAT), at IFREMER, Plouzane (France) for ESA funded project MAXSS (Marine Atmosphere eXtreme Satellite Synergy). Model simulations are consistent with the observations and provide a deeper insight in the physics of relationship between SST and SSS anomalies in TC wakes. On the basis of analysis of the observations and model results, a semi-empirical expressions to predict SSS and SST anomalies using TC parameters (radius, wind speed and translation velocity) and prestorm stratification are suggested.

The work was supported by the Russian Science Foundation through the Project No. 21-47-00038, by Ministry of Science and Education of the Russian Federation under State Assignment No. 0555-2021-0004 at MHI RAS, and State Assignment No. 0763-2020-0005 at RSHU (P.P. and V.K.). The ESA/MAXSS project support is also gratefully acknowledged (N.R. and B.C.).

How to cite: Pivaev, P., Kudryavtsev, V., Reul, N., and Chapron, B.: Thermohaline response of the upper ocean to tropical cyclones. Observations and modelling., EGU General Assembly 2022, Vienna, Austria, 23–27 May 2022, EGU22-501,, 2022.


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