Hurricanes are extreme storms that affect coastal communities, but the linkages between hurricane forcing and ocean dynamics remain poorly understood. Here, we present full water column observations at unprecedented resolution from the southwest Puerto Rico insular shelf and slope during Hurricane María, representing a rare set of high-frequency, subsurface, oceanographic observations collected along an island margin during a hurricane. The shelf geometry and orientation relative to the storm acted to stabilize and strengthen stratification. This maintained elevated sea-surface temperatures (SSTs) throughout the storm and led to an estimated 65% greater potential hurricane intensity contribution at this site before eye passage. Coastal cooling did not occur until 11 hours after the eye passage. Our findings present a new framework for how hurricane interaction with insular island margins may generate baroclinic processes that maintain elevated SSTs, thus potentially providing increased energy for the storm.
|Title||Rapid observations of ocean dynamics and stratification along a steep island coast during Hurricane María|
|Authors||Olivia Cheriton, Curt Storlazzi, Kurt J. Rosenberger, Clark E Sherman, Wilford Schmidt|
|Publication Subtype||Journal Article|
|Series Title||Science Advances|
|Record Source||USGS Publications Warehouse|
|USGS Organization||Pacific Coastal and Marine Science Center|