85th AMS Annual Meeting

Monday, 10 January 2005: 11:15 AM
A development climatology of cyclones affecting the Alaskan coastal zone
Elizabeth N. Cassano, CIRES/Univ. of Colorado, Boulder, CO; and A. H. Lynch
The Beaufort–Chukchi cyclones of October 1963 and August 2000 produced the highest winds ever recorded in Barrow, Alaska. The 1963 storm caused significant flooding, contaminating drinking water and interrupting power supplies. Water moved inland 122 m from the shore and large chunks of sea ice were washed inland about 4.6 m. Waves were estimated to be 3 m high with a storm surge of 3 m, based on reports of residents and the debris line. The 2000 storm caused the wreck of a Beach Nourishment Program dredge, and removed roofs from 40 buildings. Emergency management teams had insufficient notice to mobilize heavy equipment to build temporary protective berms along the coast. A tide gauge at Prudhoe Bay reported a storm surge of 1.46 m.

Development analysis of these two storms using a diabatic form of the quasi-geostrophic omega equation found that the 1963 storm, a long-lived warm core cyclone, was forced primarily by mid-tropospheric differential vorticity and thermal advection, while the 2000 storm relied more on surface fluxes and convection for its explosive development. In this presentation, we report on the progress of a complete climatology of cyclonic development in this region, with a view to determining whether the mechanisms leading to storms that cause large impacts on the coastal zone have been changing over time. In addition, a preliminary analysis of storm surge modeling efforts will be presented.

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