Upper Ocean Circulation and Temperature Response of Hong Kong Offshore Water to Typhoons -Observation, Modeling and Remote Sensing Studies

Principal Investigator: Prof. Pan Jiayi

Start Date: 2013/01/01
End Date: 2015/12/31
Type of Grant: General Research Fund

With so many typhoon passages each year, the coastal ocean adjacent to Hong Kong or Hong Kong offshore water (HKOW) is strongly influenced by the extremely strong wind events during the typhoon season. As a strong forcing on the ocean surface, typhoons dramatically alter upper ocean thermal structure, regional circulations, and biophysical properties. In the HKOW, typhoon-induced near-inertial currents are much stronger than tidal currents and can last up to one month after typhoon passage. Furthermore, their strong vertical shear drives vigorous vertical mixing. The response of regional circulation and temperature structure due to typhoons is one of the most important events in the HKOW, and needs more exploration.

The HKOW lacks sufficient investigations, and many basic features of regional circulation and temperature structure remain unclear, especially under the influence of extremely strong winds. The proposed project aims to understand the detailed process of the ocean response to typhoon events that bring gales, heavy downpours, and storm surges to the region, based on frontier ideas and state-of-the-art technologies including field measurements, numerical modeling, and satellite remote sensing. The proposed research will focus on improving the database of in-situ observations in the HKOW, developing a regional ocean model for the HKOW under typhoon conditions with validation by the in-situ observations, and identifying important ocean dynamics affecting response processes. The results of the proposed project will enhance our understanding of dynamical features of the HKOW, and be helpful to developing accurate and validated regional marine environmental prediction systems for utilization under extreme wind conditions.

The project assembles a team of senior oceanographers from local and mainland universities and abroad who have substantial experiences in in-situ observations, numerical modeling and satellite remote sensing studies to ensure the proposed studies achieving a high standing in the international community.