Typhoon-Induced Extreme Sea Surface Temperature Drops in the Western North Pacific and the Impact of Extra Cooling Due to Precipitation

Jia Yi Lin, Hua Ho, Zhe Wen Zheng*, Yung Cheng Tseng, Da Guang Lu

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Sea surface temperature (SST) responses have been perceived as crucial to consequential tropical cyclone (TC) intensity development. In addition to regular cooling responses, a few TCs could cause extreme SST drops (ESSTDs) (e.g., SST drops more than 6 °C) during their passage. Given the extreme temperature differences and the consequentially marked air–sea flux modulations, ESSTDs are intuitively supposed to play a serious role in modifying TC intensities. Nevertheless, the relationship between ESSTDs and consequential storm intensity changes remains unclear. In this study, satellite-observed microwave SST drops and the International Best Track Archive for Climate Stewardship TC data from 2001 to 2021 were used to elucidate the relationship between ESSTDs and the consequential TC intensity changes in the Western North Pacific typhoon season (July–October). Subsequently, the distributed characteristics of ESSTDs were systematically examined based on statistical analyses. Among them, Typhoon Kilo (2015) triggered an unexpected ESSTD behind its passage, according to existing theories. Numerical experiments based on the Regional Ocean Modeling System were carried out to explore the possible mechanisms that resulted in the ESSTD due to Kilo. The results indicate that heavy rainfall leads to additional SST cooling through the enhanced sensible heat flux leaving the surface layer in addition to the cooling from momentum-driven vertical mixing. This process enhanced the sensible heat flux leaving the sea surface since the temperature of the raindrops could be much colder than the SST in the tropical ocean, specifically under heavy rainfall and relatively less momentum entering the upper ocean during Kilo.

Original languageEnglish
Article number205
JournalRemote Sensing
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2024 Jan


  • Western North Pacific
  • rainfall
  • sea surface temperature
  • tropical cyclone

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Earth and Planetary Sciences


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