At the end of September, PMEL and partners aboard the Kaiyo Maru #1 successfully completed the Kuroshio Extension Observatory (KEO) mooring turnaround cruise during typhoon season. Although the cruise faced delays due to typhoon Tapah, the KEO mooring was both deployed and recovered successfully in a single 24-hour period, and was ready to observe Super Typhoon Hagibis, which made landfall on October 12. In addition to the mooring, four JAMSTEC backscatters meters and an underwater camera were deployed.
KEO continues to demonstrate its dual-purpose of relaying real-time weather information and contributing to longer climatological records. The KEO mooring is also known as a storm mooring due to its prime location to observe the transition of tropical cyclones to extra-tropical storms and measure the exchanges of heat and moisture between the atmosphere and ocean during these storms. Partners such as the Japan Agency for Marine-Earth Science and Technology (JAMSTEC) use the KEO mooring site to conduct their own research and enhance the mooring with additional sensors.
Typhoons are common in the western North Pacific in the summer and fall. On average, a typhoon passes within 500 nautical miles of the KEO mooring every two weeks during the peak of the tropical cyclone season. Data from ocean climate stations moorings can be used to help improve weather and storm forecasts, inform climate projections, and verify satellite products and models. The Kuroshio Extension current carries warm water into the North Pacific and is a region where the ocean generally loses heat to the atmosphere. The exchange of heat and moisture into the atmosphere is an important factor in the development of storms over the north Pacific before they reach the United States.