4.6 Super-oceanic Winds over a Narrow Coastal Estuary in Onshore Flow Events

Wednesday, 13 January 2016: 9:45 AM
Room 342 ( New Orleans Ernest N. Morial Convention Center)
Michael Splitt, Florida Institute of Technology, Melbourne, FL; and S. M. Lazarus, J. Colvin, and B. Holman

Handout (2.4 MB)

Simultaneous measurements of surface wind speed, for two onshore flow events, were recorded at three locations that include 1) an open-fetch view of the ocean, 2) an estuary (via boat), and 3) the downwind shore of the estuary. The meteorological observations were collected by students that were investigating surface layer wind speed acceleration across the estuary -- in conjunction with an undergraduate summer field program at the Florida Institute of Technology. Although somewhat unexpected, the wind speeds at the downwind estuary shore location were actually higher than their upstream (i.e., coastal ocean) counterparts. We hypothesize that the lower wave heights over the narrow fetch-limited estuary produced a lower surface roughness than that over coastal ocean -- thereby resulting in higher winds speeds on the downwind side of the estuary. Additional surface wind measurements (following the summer field program) and simulations from high resolution Weather Research and Forecasting (WRF) Model simulations will be used to assess the validity of the super-oceanic flow idea and to test the hypothesis that surface roughness differences between the estuary and coastal ocean play a role in the enhanced flow.
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