Natural Hazards

, Volume 41, Issue 3, pp 413–427 | Cite as

Impact of sea surface temperature in modulating movement and intensity of tropical cyclones

  • M. Mandal
  • U. C. Mohanty
  • P. Sinha
  • M. M. Ali
Original Paper


It is well recognized that sea surface temperature (SST) plays a dominant role in the formation and intensification of tropical cyclones. A number of observational/empirical studies were conducted at different basins to investigate the influence of SST on the intensification of tropical cyclones and in turn, modification in SST by the cyclone itself. Although a few modeling studies confirmed the sensitivity of model simulation/forecast to SST, it is not well quantified, particularly for Bay of Bengal cyclones. The present study is designed to quantify the sensitivity of SST on mesoscale simulation of an explosively deepening storm over the Bay of Bengal, i.e., Orissa super cyclone (1999). Three numerical experiments are conducted with climatological SST, NCEP (National Center for Environmental Prediction) skin temperature as SST, and observed SST (satellite derived) toward 5-day simulation of the storm using mesoscale model MM5. At model initial state, NCEP skin temperature and observed SST over the Bay of Bengal are 1–2°C warmer than climatological SST, but cooler by nearly 1°C along the coastline. Observed SST shows a number of warm patches in the Bay of Bengal compared with NCEP skin temperature. The simulation results indicate that the sea surface temperature has a significant impact on model-simulated track and intensity of the cyclonic storm. The track and intensity of the storm is better simulated with the use of satellite-observed SST.


Sea surface temperature (SST) Tropical cyclone Intensity Track Heat flux 



The authors gratefully acknowledge the NCEP and NCAR for providing their reanalysis datasets and the model used in the present study. The NCEP, USA is also thankfully acknowledged for providing the climatological SST data used in the study. The National Remote Sensing Agency (NRSA) is acknowledged for providing the satellite-observed SST data. The authors also owe thanks to the India Meteorological Department for providing precipitation data and the observed track of the storm. The Department of Ocean Development, Government of India is gratefully acknowledged for providing financial support to carry out the work.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, Inc. 2006

Authors and Affiliations

  • M. Mandal
    • 1
  • U. C. Mohanty
    • 2
  • P. Sinha
    • 2
  • M. M. Ali
    • 3
  1. 1.Centre for Oceans, Rivers, Atmosphere and Land SciencesIndian Institute of Technology, KharagpurKharagpurIndia
  2. 2.Centre for Atmospheric SciencesIndian Institute of TechnologyNew DelhiIndia
  3. 3.National Remote Sensing AgencyHyderabadIndia

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