Using remotely sensed data to modify wind forcing in operational storm surge forecasting

Byrne, David; Horsburgh, Kevin ORCID:; Zachry, Brian; Cipollini, Paolo. 2017 Using remotely sensed data to modify wind forcing in operational storm surge forecasting. Natural Hazards, 89 (1). 275-293.

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Storm surges are abnormal coastal sea level events caused by meteorological conditions such as tropical cyclones. They have the potential to cause widespread loss of life and financial damage and have done so on many occasions in the past. Accurate and timely forecasts are necessary to help mitigate the risks posed by these events. Operational forecasting models use discretisations of the governing equations for fluid flow to model the sea surface, which is then forced by surface stresses derived from a model wind and pressure fields. The wind fields are typically idealised and generated parametrically. In this study, wind field datasets derived from remotely sensed data are used to modify the model parametric wind forcing and investigate potential improvement to operational forecasting. We examine two methods for using analysis wind fields derived from remotely sensed observations of three hurricanes. Our first method simply replaces the parametric wind fields with its corresponding analysis wind field for a period of time. Our second method does this also but takes it further by attempting to use some of the information present in the analysis wind field to estimate future wind fields. We find that our methods do yield some forecast improvement, most notably for our second method where we get improvements of up to 0.29 m on average. Importantly, the spatial structure of the surge is changed in some places such that locations that were previously forecast small surges had their water levels increased. These results were validated by tide gauge data.

Item Type: Publication - Article
Digital Object Identifier (DOI):
ISSN: 0921-030X
Date made live: 18 Aug 2017 14:16 +0 (UTC)

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