Ocean internal tides suppress tropical cyclones in the South China Sea
May 16,2024

Shoude Guan, Fei-Fei Jin, Jiwei Tian, I-I Lin, Iam-Fei Pun, Wei Zhao, John Huthnance, Zhao Xu, Wenju Cai, Zhao Jing, Lei Zhou, Ping Liu, Yihan Zhang, Zhiwei Zhang, Chun Zhou, Qingxuan Yang, Xiaodong Huang, Yijun Hou & Jinbao Song

Published in Nature Communications, May 2024

Tropical Cyclones (TCs) are devastating natural disasters. Analyzing four decades of global TC data, here we find that among all global TC-active basins, the South China Sea (SCS) stands out as particularly difficult ocean for TCs to intensify, despite favorable atmosphere and ocean conditions. Over the SCS, TC intensification rate and its probability for a rapid intensification (intensification by ≥ 15.4 m s−1 day−1) are only 1/2 and 1/3, respectively, of those for the rest of the world ocean. Originating from complex interplays between astronomic tides and the SCS topography, gigantic ocean internal tides interact with TC-generated oceanic near-inertial waves and induce a strong ocean cooling effect, suppressing the TC intensification. Inclusion of this interaction between internal tides and TC in operational weather prediction systems is expected to improve forecast of TC intensity in the SCS and in other regions where strong internal tides are present.

Guan, S., Jin, FF., Tian, J. et al. Ocean internal tides suppress tropical cyclones in the South China Sea. Nat Commun 15, 3903 (2024).

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