Ocean response to a hurricane, part II : data tabulations and numerical modeling Report uri icon


  • Field observations of the ocean's forced stage response to three hurricanes, Norbert (1984), Josephine (1984) and Gloria (1985), are analyzed and presented in a storm-centered coordinate system. All three hurricanes had a non-dimensional speed of O(1) and produced a strongly rightward biased response of the ocean surface mixed layer (SML) transport and current. The maximum layer-averaged SML currents varried from 0.8 m S-1 in response to Josephine, which was a fairly weak hurricane, to 1.7 m S.l in response to Gloria, which was much stronger. In these two cases the current amplitude is set primarly by the strength of the wind stress and its efficiency of coupling with the SML current, and the depth of vertical mixing of the SML. The Norbert case (SML Burger number ? 1/2) was also affected by significant pressure-coupling with the thermocline that caused appreciable upwellng by inertial pumping and strong thermocline-depth currents, up to 0.3 m S-l, under the trailing edge of Norbert. The observed SML current has a vertical shear in the direction of the local wind of up to 0.01 S-l. This vertical shear causes the surface current to be larger than the layer-averaged SML current described above by typically 0.2 m S.l.

publication date

  • 1991