Hindcast and Validation of Hurricane Ike (2008) Waves, Forerunner, and Storm Surge

JGR2013aHurricane Ike (2008) made landfall near Galveston, Texas, as a moderate intensity storm. Its large wind field in conjunction with the Louisiana-Texas coastline’s broad shelf and large scale concave geometry generated waves and surge that impacted over 1000 km of coastline. Ike’s complex and varied wave and surge response physics included: the capture of surge by the protruding Mississippi River Delta; the strong influence of wave radiation stress gradients on the Delta adjacent to the shelf break; the development of strong wind driven shore-parallel currents and the associated geostrophic setup; the forced early rise of water in coastal bays and lakes facilitating inland surge penetration; the propagation of a free wave along the southern Texas shelf; shore-normal peak wind-driven surge; and resonant and reflected long waves across a wide continental shelf. Preexisting and rapidly deployed instrumentation provided the most comprehensive hurricane response data of any previous hurricane. More than 94 wave parameter time histories, 523 water level time histories, and 206 high water marks were collected throughout the Gulf in deep water, along the nearshore, and up to 65 km inland. Ike’s highly varied physics were simulated using SWAN+ADCIRC, a tightly coupled wave and circulation model, on SL18TX33, a new unstructured mesh of the Gulf of Mexico, Caribbean Sea, and western Atlantic Ocean with high resolution of the Gulf’s coastal floodplain from Alabama to the Texas-Mexico border. A comprehensive validation was made of the model’s ability to capture the varied physics in the system.

ME Hope, JJ Westerink, AB Kennedy, PC Kerr, JC Dietrich, CN Dawson, CJ Bender, JM Smith, RE Jensen, M Zijlema, LH Holthuijsen, RA Luettich Jr, MD Powell, VJ Cardone, AT Cox, H Pourtaheri, HJ Roberts, JH Atkinson, S Tanaka, HJ Westerink, LG Westerink (2013). “Hindcast and Validation of Hurricane Ike (2008) Waves, Forerunner,
and Storm Surge.
Journal of Geophysical Research: Oceans, 118, 4424-4460, DOI: 10.1002/jgrc.20314.