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Ocean-atmosphere dynamics during Hurricane Ida and Nor'Ida: An application of the coupled ocean-atmosphere-wave-sediment transport (COAWST) modeling system

January 1, 2012

The coupled ocean–atmosphere–wave–sediment transport (COAWST) modeling system was used to investigate atmosphere–ocean–wave interactions in November 2009 during Hurricane Ida and its subsequent evolution to Nor’Ida, which was one of the most costly storm systems of the past two decades. One interesting aspect of this event is that it included two unique atmospheric extreme conditions, a hurricane and a nor’easter storm, which developed in regions with different oceanographic characteristics. Our modeled results were compared with several data sources, including GOES satellite infrared data, JASON-1 and JASON-2 altimeter data, CODAR measurements, and wave and tidal information from the National Data Buoy Center (NDBC) and the National Tidal Database. By performing a series of numerical runs, we were able to isolate the effect of the interaction terms between the atmosphere (modeled with Weather Research and Forecasting, the WRF model), the ocean (modeled with Regional Ocean Modeling System (ROMS)), and the wave propagation and generation model (modeled with Simulating Waves Nearshore (SWAN)). Special attention was given to the role of the ocean surface roughness. Three different ocean roughness closure models were analyzed: DGHQ (which is based on wave age), TY2001 (which is based on wave steepness), and OOST (which considers both the effects of wave age and steepness). Including the ocean roughness in the atmospheric module improved the wind intensity estimation and therefore also the wind waves, surface currents, and storm surge amplitude. For example, during the passage of Hurricane Ida through the Gulf of Mexico, the wind speeds were reduced due to wave-induced ocean roughness, resulting in better agreement with the measured winds. During Nor’Ida, including the wave-induced surface roughness changed the form and dimension of the main low pressure cell, affecting the intensity and direction of the winds. The combined wave age- and wave steepness-based parameterization (OOST) provided the best results for wind and wave growth prediction. However, the best agreement between the measured (CODAR) and computed surface currents and storm surge values was obtained with the wave steepness-based roughness parameterization (TY2001), although the differences obtained with respect to DGHQ were not significant. The influence of sea surface temperature (SST) fields on the atmospheric boundary layer dynamics was examined; in particular, we evaluated how the SST affects wind wave generation, surface currents and storm surges. The integrated hydrograph and integrated wave height, parameters that are highly correlated with the storm damage potential, were found to be highly sensitive to the ocean surface roughness parameterization.

Publication Year 2012
Title Ocean-atmosphere dynamics during Hurricane Ida and Nor'Ida: An application of the coupled ocean-atmosphere-wave-sediment transport (COAWST) modeling system
DOI 10.1016/j.ocemod.2011.12.008
Authors Maitane Olabarrieta, John C. Warner, Brandy N. Armstrong, Joseph B. Zambon, Ruoying He
Publication Type Article
Publication Subtype Journal Article
Series Title Ocean Modelling
Index ID 70032604
Record Source USGS Publications Warehouse