Center for Coastal Physical Oceanography & ODU Resilience Collaborative



Fall 2019 Seminar Series

"ON THE IMPACT OF HURRICANES ON OCEAN DYNAMICS AND THE SEASONAL PATTERN OF FLOODING"

Tal Ezer
CCPO

Monday, October 28, 2019
3:30 PM
Conference Center, Innovation Research Building II
4211 Monarch Way, Norfolk, VA 23508

Abstract

This seminar will focus on recent research that tried to answer two important questions: 1. Why do we see prolonged floods after hurricanes or even for hurricanes that stayed away from the shore and never made landfall? and 2. Why is a dramatic acceleration in the frequency and duration of flooding along the Mid-Atlantic coasts seen almost exclusively during the fall? The answers to these questions are found in the linkage between atmosphere-ocean dynamics and the coastal sea level response. In particular, observations and numerical models show that tropical storms and hurricanes can disrupt the flow of the Gulf Stream and this slowdown raises coastal sea level for a period of days and weeks, causing a long period of minor tidal flooding (so-called "nuisance" or "sunny day" floods). Extreme examples of this impact were Hurricanes Matthew (2016) and Dorian (2019), which followed the path of the Gulf Stream and weakened its transport by almost 50%. The hurricane season also coincides with other seasonal cycles that increase flooding risks, especially in September-October (during the so-called "King Tide"), with contributions from the annual and semiannual tidal cycles and seasonal variations in the Gulf Stream flow. While hurricanes and tropical storms dominate fall flooding in the Mid-Atlantic and the southeastern U.S., nor'easter extra-tropical storms affect flooding in the northeastern coasts during winter and spring. The seasonal pattern of flooding may have also shifted in recent decades due to a climate shift in the mean zonal wind pattern. Recent publications on these topics can be found in http://www.ccpo.odu.edu/~tezer/Pub.html.


Biography

Dr. Ezer is a Professor of Ocean, Earth and Atmospheric Sciences at CCPO/OEAS. He received a B.Sc. in Physics and Mathematics and a M.Sc. in Atmospheric Sciences from the Hebrew University in Israel and a Ph.D. in Physical Oceanography from Florida State University. He moved to ODU in 2007, after 18 years at Princeton University. Since the early 1990s, he has managed and supported the Princeton Ocean Model (POM) Users Group of some 6000 users worldwide. The website of POM is currently hosted by CCPO (http://www.ccpo.odu.edu/POMWEB/). Dr. Ezer's research evolved from the development of ocean circulation models and data assimilation schemes to recent studies of climate change, sea level rise, hurricanes and coastal flooding. He is especially fond of the Gulf Stream, publishing over two dozen papers on the subject over three decades.


Reception before seminar at 3:00 PM


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