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© Author(s) 2019. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.
© Author(s) 2019. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

Research article 28 Jan 2019

Research article | 28 Jan 2019

Review status
This discussion paper is a preprint. It is a manuscript under review for the journal Ocean Science (OS).

Eddy-induced Track Reversal and Upper Ocean Physical-Biogeochemical Response of Tropical Cyclone Madi in the Bay of Bengal

Riyanka Roy Chowdhury1, S. Prasanna Kumar2, and Arun Chakraborty1 Riyanka Roy Chowdhury et al.
  • 1Centre for Oceans, Rivers, Atmosphere and Land Sciences, Indian Institute of Technology Kharagpur, Kharagpur 721302, West Bengal, India
  • 2CSIR – National Institute of Oceanography, Dona Paula, Goa 403004, India

Abstract. The life cycle of the tropical cyclone Madi in the southwestern Bay of Bengal (BoB) during 6th to 12th December 2013 was studied using a suite of ocean and atmospheric data. Madi formed as a depression on 6th December and intensified into a very severe cyclonic storm by 8th December. What was distinct about Madi was its (1) swift weakening from very severe cyclone to a severe cyclone while moving towards north on 9th, (2) abrupt track reversal close to 180-degree in a southwestward direction on 10th, and (3) rapid decay in the open ocean by 12th December while still moving southwestward. Using both in situ and remote sensing data, we show that oceanic cyclonic eddies played a leading role in the ensuing series of events that followed its genesis. The sudden weakening of the cyclone before its track reversal was facilitated by the oceanic cyclonic (cold-core) eddy, which reduced the ocean heat content and cooled the upper ocean through upward eddy-pumping of subsurface waters. When Madi moved over cyclonic eddy-core, its further northward movement was arrested. Subsequently, the prevailing northeasterly winds assisted the slow moving system to change its track to a southwesterly path. While travelling towards southwestward direction, the system rapidly decayed when it passed over the regions of cyclonic eddies located near the western boundary of the BoB. Though Madi was a category-2 cyclone, it had a profound impact on the physical and biogeochemical state of the upper ocean. Cyclone-induced enhancement in the chlorophyll a ranged from 5 to 7-fold, while increase in the net primary productivity ranged from 2.5 to 8-fold. Similarly, the CO2 out-gassing into the atmosphere showed a 3.7-fold increase compared to the pre-cyclone values. Our study points to the crucial role oceanic eddies play in the life cycle of cyclone in the BoB. Eddies being ubiquitous and tropical cyclones occur twice a year in the BoB, there is an urgent need to incorporate them in the models for the better prediction of the cyclone track and intensity.

Riyanka Roy Chowdhury et al.
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Riyanka Roy Chowdhury et al.
Riyanka Roy Chowdhury et al.
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Short summary
Highlights: Documented role of oceanic cyclonic eddies in modifying track and life cycle of cyclone by way of abrupt track reversal and rapid decay. Cyclone-induced increase in the chlorophyll a biomass ranged from 5 to 7 fold, while the net primary productivity from 2.5 to 8 fold. A 3.7 fold increase in cyclone-induced CO2 out-gassing indicative of the altering regional CO2 balance in the BoB, which is a weak sink.
Highlights: Documented role of oceanic cyclonic eddies in modifying track and life cycle of...