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The Effect of the Surface Wind Field Representation in the Operational Storm Surge Model of the National Hurricane Center

1,*,† and 2
1
Department of Civil, Environmental, and Construction Engineering, University of Central Florida, Orlando, FL 32816, USA
2
Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, Princeton University, Princeton University, Princeton, NJ 08544, USA
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Current address: 4000 Central Florida Blvd; Orlando, FL 32816, USA.
Atmosphere 2019, 10(4), 193; https://doi.org/10.3390/atmos10040193
Received: 17 February 2019 / Revised: 18 March 2019 / Accepted: 3 April 2019 / Published: 9 April 2019
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Storm Surge Modeling – Capturing the Wind)
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Abstract

The Sea, Lake, and Overland Surges from Hurricanes (SLOSH) model is the operational storm surge model of the National Hurricane Center (NHC). Previous studies have found that the SLOSH model estimates storm surges with an accuracy of ±20%. In this study, through hindcasts of historical storms, we assess the accuracy of the SLOSH model for four coastal regions in the Northeastern United States. We investigate the potential to improve this accuracy through modification of the wind field representation. We modify the surface background wind field, the parametric wind profile, and the maximum wind speed based on empirical, physical, and observational data. We find that on average the SLOSH model underestimates maximum storm surge heights by 22%. The modifications to the surface background wind field and the parametric wind profile have minor impacts; however, the effect of the modification to maximum wind speed is significant—it increases the variance in the SLOSH model estimates of maximum storm surges, but improves its accuracy overall. We recommend that observed values of maximum wind speed be used in SLOSH model simulations when possible. View Full-Text
Keywords: storm surge; SLOSH model; parametric wind profile; maximum wind speed storm surge; SLOSH model; parametric wind profile; maximum wind speed
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This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited (CC BY 4.0).
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Mayo, T.; Lin, N. The Effect of the Surface Wind Field Representation in the Operational Storm Surge Model of the National Hurricane Center. Atmosphere 2019, 10, 193.

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