NCCOS studies environmental data from high accuracy satellite images
to better understand how hurricanes change the coastal ocean and how
these changes can impact marine habitats of Coastal Ecosystems of the
Improved understanding from retrospective assessment, 1995 - present,
can guide implementation of ecosystem monitoring and lead to the development
and improvement of forecasts and interpretive tools to advance management
and science policy actions on production and health of these habitats.
Since 1995 hurricane severity and frequency has been high. Nine major
hurricanes battered the southeastern United States since 1995, when our
retrospective data begins. In 2004 four major hurricanes including Hurricane
Ivan (NOAA image) struck Florida within 6 weeks.
Hurricane season is June through November.
Surface water temperature, turbidity and chlorophyll abundance can
be calculated from the output of sensors on board NOAA Polar Orbiting
Environmental Satellites (POES). Currently in orbit are morning and afternoon
overpass satellites which provide global coverage of temperature four
times daily but the spatial accuracy of temperature images produced in
the past can have substantial spatial error relative to earth coordinates.
NCCOS has compiled and improved the spatial accuracy of over 6,000
images, 1995 and ongoing, to provide the accuracy
Hurricane winds and waves disrupt
vertical structure of the coastal ocean by mixing surface with
deeper water and suspending bottom sediments, but hurricanes also can
impose stratified conditions following hurricane passage when increased
freshwater runoff due to heavy rainfall enters the estuary. Mixing
due to hurricanes and tropical storms is greatest near the center of
a hurricane and in water that is contacted by wind that is strong or
for long periods or over great distances.
Analysis of the remote images and information on exploited resources
and production of coastal habitats can support development of ecoforecasts.
Ecoforecasts will predict
ecological effects of future hurricanes on coral reefs and other
protected habitats, and potential changes in value and health of exploited
habitats and resources.
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