Superstorm Sandy at the Jacques Cousteau National

Report
Superstorm Sandy at the
Jacques Cousteau National Estuarine
Research Reserve (JCNERR)
Gregg P. Sakowicz
Jacques Cousteau National Estuarine Research Reserve
NERRS Technician Training Workshop
12-14 February 2013
Superstorm Sandy
• Landfall Monday October 29th, 2012 at 7PM in Atlantic
City, NJ.
• Second-largest Atlantic tropical cyclone on record
(Hurricane Olga set the record in 2001)
• Strengthened under –PNA
• Took a very atypical path due to a strong –NAO
PNA (Pacific/North American
Teleconnection Pattern)
• Associated with the strength and location of the East
Asian Jet Stream
• Affects movement of weather systems and development
of tropical systems
+PNA
(exaggerated for illustrative purposes)
Cold air
H
tropical
development
hindered
-PNA
(exaggerated for illustrative purposes)
L
tropical
development
supported
Warm air
Image credit: NOAA Climate Prediction Center
North Atlantic Oscillation (NAO)
• Controls strength and direction of Westerly winds and
storm tracks across North Atlantic
• +NAO leads to increased westerly winds, Arctic air
corralled at high latitudes
• -NAO suppresses westerly winds, causes Jet Stream to
meander, and sets up conditions for a “blocking high”
over Greenland
+NAO
(exaggerated for illustrative purposes)
systems
move
quickly,
offshore
Bermuda
High
-NAO
(exaggerated for illustrative purposes)
Blocking
High
systems
pushed towards coast
and strengthen
How did the PNA and NAO interact
with Sandy?
• A -PNA set up conditions for tropical
development
• Conditions associated with -NAO blocked escape
and pushed her towards the Eastern Seaboard
Hurricane vs. Superstorm
Designation
• Hurricane Sandy (Cat 1) hybridized with a Nor’easter
developing over the Northeastern seaboard and went
“extratropical”
– “Warm core” vs. “cold core”
– Similar mechanism as 1991 “Perfect Storm”
• Despite this reclassification, barometric pressure
(940mmHg) was characteristic of a Category 3 or 4
hurricane
• Winds did not significantly weaken and storm actually
grew before making landfall
Why Was Damage So Severe?
• Size of storm maximized surge
• Track of storm maximized surge
• Maximum surge arrived with high-tide under full moon
• Pressure-driven storm surge magnified by low bp
• Debris and jetsam caused mechanical damage
• Over-confidence (“The Irene-effect”)
• Declassification confused public and officials
Why Was Damage So Severe?
(continued)
• Rain runoff stacked more water on top of surge in bays
• Wind strength created significant waves even in
sheltered waters
• Wind-shift to SSW after eye passage drove water into
bayside communities and South-facing corners and
coves in bays
• Etc. etc. etc.
• Call to evacuate was delayed (in my opinion)
NOAA’s GFS model vs. the others
Sandy in the JCNERR
As seen through SWMP
(System-Wide Monitoring Program)
Nacote Creek Weather Station
• The NC weather station captured Sandy’s
effects and survived the storm
• Recorded barometric pressure of 946mmHg
• Peak wind speed of 25.6m/s (57.3mph)
• Rainfall high in SNJ, less northward
Wind Speed
Rainfall
Four days
Rainfall
= 138.2
mm
= 125.0
mm
Four days
Water-Quality Stations
• All 4 station datasondes survived(ish) the storm
• Telemetry at B6 transmitted data live through the
event
• Telemetry station at NE was lost
Water Quality Stations
• Sandy’s surge stacked the following water ON
TOP OF the already-high tides at each station:
–
–
–
–
Buoy 126:
Buoy 139:
Chestnut Neck:
Lower Bank:
1.3m (4.3ft.)
1.2m (3.9ft.)
1.3m (4.3ft.)
2.0m (6.6ft.)
(All values approximate)
How did the JCNERR Fair?
• Relatively natural system
- Populated areas in striking contrast vs. natural
• Storm surge protected marsh surface
• Hard, vertical features and structures bore brunt of
impact
• Some bank erosion and habitat loss
• Underwater effects yet to be studied
RUMFS
RUMFS
RUMFS
RUMFS
RUMFS
Holgate &
Forsythe Reserve
Holgate &
Forsythe Reserve
Holgate &
Forsythe Reserve
Little Beach
Little Beach
Parson’s Clam Hatchery
Parson’s Clam Hatchery
Tuckerton
Cove
Tuckerton
Cove
Future Work
• Analysis of Satellite and LiDAR imagery
Future Work
Future Work
In Summary
• Preliminary assessment of the reserve is favorable
• The JCNERR’s SWMP stations captured Sandy as
intended*
• Data will be useful in studies examining how the
environment and organisms recover from this event
• Data are comparable to that collected at other NERRs
• Data are available for download at www.nerrsdata.org

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