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Open AccessArticle

Mechanics and Historical Evolution of Sea Level Blowouts in New York Harbor

1
Davidson Laboratory and Department of Civil, Environmental and Ocean Engineering, Stevens Institute of Technology, Hoboken, NJ 07030, USA
2
MIT-WHOI Joint Program in Oceanography/Applied Ocean Science & Engineering, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, Woods Hole, MA 02543, USA
3
Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, Portland State University, Portland, OR 97201, USA
4
Jupiter Intelligence, New York, NY 10001, USA
5
City College and the Graduate Center, City University of New York, New York, NY 10016, USA
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
J. Mar. Sci. Eng. 2019, 7(5), 160; https://doi.org/10.3390/jmse7050160
Received: 2 April 2019 / Revised: 29 April 2019 / Accepted: 8 May 2019 / Published: 23 May 2019
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Coastal Hazards Related to Water)
Wind-induced sea level blowouts, measured as negative storm surge or extreme low water (ELW), produce public safety hazards and impose economic costs (e.g., to shipping). In this paper, we use a regional hydrodynamic numerical model to test the effect of historical environmental change and the time scale, direction, and magnitude of wind forcing on negative and positive surge events in the New York Harbor (NYH). Environmental sensitivity experiments show that dredging of shipping channels is an important factor affecting blowouts while changing ice cover and removal of other roughness elements are unimportant in NYH. Continuously measured water level records since 1860 show a trend towards smaller negative surge magnitudes (measured minus predicted water level) but do not show a significant change to ELW magnitudes after removing the sea-level trend. Model results suggest that the smaller negative surges occur in the deeper, dredged modern system due to a reduced tide-surge interaction, primarily through a reduced phase shift in the predicted tide. The sensitivity of surge to wind direction changes spatially with remote wind effects dominating local wind effects near NYH. Convergent coastlines that amplify positive surges also amplify negative surges, a process we term inverse coastal funneling. View Full-Text
Keywords: estuary; negative surge; blowout; storm surge; funneling; tide-surge interaction; wind set-down; New York Harbor; dredging estuary; negative surge; blowout; storm surge; funneling; tide-surge interaction; wind set-down; New York Harbor; dredging
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Gurumurthy, P.; Orton, P.M.; Talke, S.A.; Georgas, N.; Booth, J.F. Mechanics and Historical Evolution of Sea Level Blowouts in New York Harbor. J. Mar. Sci. Eng. 2019, 7, 160.

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