Following the rapid-response air deployment of an array of buoys in the Gulf of Mexico ahead of Hurricane Ian, members of the Task 3A Thomson team closely monitored the data collected by the devices.
In Figure 1, the drift tracks of six Sofar Ocean Spotter buoys and two UW-APL microSWIFT buoys are shown, along with the path of Hurricane Ian over a 12-hour period on September 28th and areas of sustained winds of 34+ knots, 50+ knots, and 64+ knots.
One buoy — Sofar Spotter SPOT-30068D or Sp1 — passed near Ian’s eye wall on the morning of September 28th. In the video in Figure 2, the arrival of the buoy near Ian's eye wall corresponds with a sharp increase in wave height and sharp decreases in sea surface temperature and barometric pressure.
In Figure 3, Sp1’s significant wave height, barometric pressure, and temperature measurements are shown for the three-day period between September 27th and September 30th. The same spikes captured by the visualization in Figure 2 are visible here.
In Figure 4, wave spectra recorded by Sp1 show high energy, low frequency waves during the period when Sp1 passed near Hurricane Ian’s eye wall.
As shown in Figure 1, UW-APL microSwift019, or mS1, was located northwest of Sp1, slightly further from Hurricane Ian’s eye. In Figure 5, mS1 records a spike in wave height that peaks late on September 28th.
In Figure 6, wave spectra recorded by mS1 show high energy, low frequency waves similar to those detected by Sp1.
The observations successfully collected during this deployment will be key for improving forecast skill and are actively being used for hindcast comparisons to the models run by the Task 4 teams during Hurricane Ian.
by Martha Schönau, Luca Centurioni, Steve Jayne, and Elizabeth Sanabia
Hurricane Ian was the first 2022 hurricane to make landfall in the continental USA with strong Cat 5 winds and large amounts of rain. The team of Deltares USA, Deltares Netherlands, USGS and NRL successfully applied the COSMOS modelling system to forecast hurricane Ian’s flood and morphological impact.