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Oceanic responses to hurricanes have been studied extensively by many investigators in the past. However, modeling studies of ocean response to hurricanes have been mostly conducted over deep, open waters. The presence of complex coastline, depth variation, and the Gulf Stream off the southeast coast of the United States presents a challenge for accurate simulations of ocean response to tropical cyclones in the South Atlantic Bight (SAB).

Hurricane Fran of 1996 trekked across SAB waters and made landfall near Wilmington, North Carolina. The response of sea surface temperature to the passage of Fran has been well observed by NOAA GOES 8 satellite and analyzed at CFDL. A three-dimensional coastal ocean model was then used to reproduce the sub-surface responses of the SAB water to hurricane Fran. The model used 18 vertical levels and 5 km horrizontal grids. The wind field of hurricane Fran was represented by a simple hurricane wind model proposed by Holland (1980). The results of the simulation are depicted by the title image and a quick-time animation (by clicking the title image).

Air-sea coupling

Estuary modeling

Response to hurricanes

Storm surge

Gulf Stream and shelf fronts

Trajectory and dispersion

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