Barrier layer characteristics for different temporal scales and its implication to tropical cyclone enhancement in the Western North Pacific

Ding Rong Wu, Zhe Wen Zheng*, Ganesh Gopalakrishnan, Chung Ru Ho, Quanan Zheng

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)


The barrier layer (BL) is a layer of water separating the thermocline from the density mixed layer in the upper ocean, which has the capability of reducing the negative feedback effect caused by tropical cyclone (TC) acting on the upper ocean and back on the TC itself. This study analyzed in‐situ Argo floats measurements, data‐assimilated HYCOM/NCODA reanalysis, and the longer‐term (1961– 2010) variations of Ocean Reanalysis System 4 (ORAS4) based BL in the TC main development region (MDR) to characterize the BL in the western North Pacific (WNP) for different temporal scales and to understand its role in resisting TC induced sea surface cooling. First, the result indicates that the effect of BL on TC enhancement in the MDR of WNP might be overestimated. Further analysis based on partial correlation shows that the BL plays a key role in resisting the cooling response only while BL is strong (BL thickness ≥ 5 m) and TC wind forcing is weak. Meanwhile, the distribution of BL demon-strates markedly the mesoscale characteristic. BL with thickness 0–5 m occupies the highest proportion (~67.55%), while thicker BL (BL thickness (BLT) larger than 5 m) takes up about 25–30%. Besides, there are ~3% with BL thicker than 30 m. For life length, BLT with 0–5 m is limited to 5 days, while BL with thickness more than 30 m can persist for more than 30 days. The scenario is attributed to diverse processes that result in different characteristic temporal scales of BL. Additionally, the analysis of coverage region and average BLT in the recent decade shows a serious situation: both the spatial coverage and BLT increase sharply from 2001 to 2010, which implies that TC–BL interactions might occur more frequently and more vigorously in future if the changing trend of BL remains unchanged.

Original languageEnglish
Article number3375
JournalSustainability (Switzerland)
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 2021 Mar 2


  • Air‐sea interaction
  • Barrier layer
  • Tropical cyclone intensity
  • Upper ocean stratification

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Computer Science (miscellaneous)
  • Environmental Science (miscellaneous)
  • Geography, Planning and Development
  • Energy Engineering and Power Technology
  • Hardware and Architecture
  • Management, Monitoring, Policy and Law
  • Computer Networks and Communications
  • Renewable Energy, Sustainability and the Environment


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