S149 Storm Surge and Coastal Storm Climatology: Duck, North Carolina

Sunday, 6 January 2013
Exhibit Hall 3 (Austin Convention Center)
Robbie Martin Munroe, East Carolina University, Greenville, NC

Storm surge increases vulnerability through potential damage to coastal infrastructure, transportation of sediment, and the endangerment of human life. North Carolina is uniquely susceptible to storm surge associated with tropical and extratropical cyclones throughout the year due to its geographic location adjacent to the warm waters of the Gulf Stream. This presents North Carolina as an ideal candidate to study the climatology of storm surge in relation to the two types of coastal storms. Changing weather patterns and rising sea levels associated with global warming contribute uncertainty to current and future storm surge patterns. This research aims to better understand and predict climatic controls of coastal storms responsible for storm surge events specifically at Duck, North Carolina. Preliminary results indicate that storm surge occurs most frequently in the early fall and late winter with a lull in the early summer. The El Nino Southern Oscillation (ENSO) is a driver of storm surge with El Nino accounting for the greatest cumulative hours of surge per month, for all months, except May and August. Future work will examine storm surge distributions by season and climate signal (i.e. ENSO and North Atlantic Oscillation), synoptic climatology of conditions prior and during storm surge events, and geospatial characteristics of the coastal storms responsible for significant storm surge events.

Key Words: Climate, Coast, Cyclone, North Carolina, Storm Surge

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