Diagnosing the Growth of Equatorial Typhoon Vamei (2001) from an Energy Standpoint

  • Author(s): Gin-Rong Liu, Chung-Chih Liu, Ching-Shun Huang, Tang-Huang Lin, Wann-Jin Chen, and Chun-Chieh Chao
  • DOI: 10.3319/TAO.2009.12.03.01(A)
  • Keywords: Equatorial typhoon Typhoon formation Energy flux
  • Citation: Liu, G. R., C. C. Liu, C. S. Huang, T. H. Lin, W. J. Chen, and C. C. Chao, 2010: Diagnosing the growth of equatorial Typhoon Vamei (2001) from an energy standpoint. Terr. Atmos. Ocean. Sci., 21, 817-827, doi: 10.3319/TAO.2009.12.03.01(A)

Surprisingly, on 27 December 2001, a storm named Typhoon Vamei formed near in Singaporean waters. An examination on the SSM/I-derived rainfall rates and air-sea parameters showed that significant higher latent heat release and air-sea energy flux during convective rainfall activities played a key role in the typhoon's growth. A quantitative analysis revealed that the energy flux from the ocean to the atmosphere and the latent heat release during the rainfall activities both increased significantly during the initial growth stage. However, the values rapidly decreased just before the storm reached typhoon strength. Separately, in contrast to a case that occurred in 1999, the total thermal energy calculated from Typhoon Vamei's formation was two times higher. Thus, despite a very weak Coriolis force in the equatorial belt, the special terrain of Borneo Island and narrow channel in the equatorial South China Sea caused a Borneo vortex via northeasterly cold surges, together with the accumulated energy was sufficiently strong enough to induce the formation of Typhoon Vamei.

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