Water Science and Engineering 2017, 10(2) 154-165 DOI:   http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.wse.2017.03.012  ISSN: 1674-2370 CN: 32-1785/TV

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Hurricane Katrina
Louisiana shelf
Baroclinic and barotropic models
Mohammad Nabi Allahdadi
Chunyan Li
Article by Mohammad Nabi Allahdadi
Article by Chunyan Li

Effect of stratification on current hydrodynamics over Louisiana shelf during Hurricane Katrina

Mohammad Nabi Allahdadi*, Chunyan Li

Department of Oceanography and Coastal Sciences, College of the Coast and Environment, Louisiana State University, Baton Rouge 70803, USA


Numerical experiments were conducted using the Finite Volume Community Ocean Model (FVCOM) to study the impact of the initial density stratification on simulated currents over the Louisiana shelf during Hurricane Katrina. Model results for two simulation scenarios, including an initially stratified shelf and an initially non-stratified shelf, were examined. Comparison of two simulations for two-dimensional (2D) currents, the time series of current speed, and variations of cross-shore currents across different sections showed that the smallest differences between simulated currents for these two scenarios occured over highly mixed regions within 1 radius of maximum wind (RMW) under the hurricane. For areas farther from the mixed zone, differences increased, reaching the maximum values off Terrebonne Bay. These large discrepancies correspond to significant differences between calculated vertical eddy viscosities for the two scenarios. The differences were addressed based on the contradictory behavior of turbulence in a stratified fluid, as compared to a non-stratified fluid. Incorporation of this behavior in the Mellor-Yamada turbulent closure model established a Richardson number-based stability function that was used for estimation of the vertical eddy viscosity from the turbulent energy and macroscale. The results of this study demonstrate the necessity for inclusion of shelf stratification when circulation modeling is conducted using three-dimensional (3D) baroclinic models. To achieve high-accuracy currents, the parameters associated with the turbulence closures should be calibrated with field measurements of currents at different depths.

Keywords Hurricane Katrina   Louisiana shelf   Hydrodynamics   Baroclinic and barotropic models   Stratification  
Received 2016-09-11 Revised 2017-03-24 Online: 2017-04-30 
DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.wse.2017.03.012

This work was supported by grants from Louisiana's Coastal Protection and Restoration Authority (CPRA) and the Stennis Space Center, the Lake Pontchartrain Basin Foundation, the National Science Foundation (Grants No. OCE-0554674, DEB-0833225, OCE-1140268, and OCE-1140307), the Hypoxia Project of NOAA (Grant No. NA06NPS4780197), the Shanghai Universities First-Class disciplines Project, and the Shanghai Ocean University International Center for Marine Studies.

Corresponding Authors: Mohammad Nabi Allahdadi
Email: nabiallahdadi@gmail.com
About author:


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