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  1. Free, publicly-accessible full text available May 10, 2023
  2. Atmospheric cold fronts can periodically generate storm surges and affect sediment transport in the Northern Gulf of Mexico (NGOM). In this paper, we evaluate water circulation spatiotemporal patterns induced by six atmospheric cold front events in the Wax Lake Delta (WLD) in coastal Louisiana using the 3-D hydrodynamic model ECOM-si. Model simulations show that channelized and inter-distributary water flow is significantly impacted by cold fronts. Water volume transport throughout the deltaic channel network is not just constrained to the main channels but also occurs laterally across channels accounting for about a quarter of the total flow. Results show that a significant landward flow occurs across the delta prior to the frontal passage, resulting in a positive storm surge on the coast. The along-channel current velocity dominates while cross-channel water transport occurs at the southwest lobe during the post-frontal stage. Depending on local weather conditions, the cold-front-induced flushing event lasts for 1.7 to 7 days and can flush 32–76% of the total water mass out of the system, a greater range of variability than previous reports. The magnitude of water flushed out of the system is not necessarily dependent on the duration of the frontal events. An energy partitioning analysis showsmore »that the relative importance of subtidal energy (10–45% of the total) and tidal energy (20–70%) varies substantially from station to station and is linked to the weather impact. It is important to note that within the WLD region, the weather-induced subtidal energy (46–66% of the total) is much greater than the diurnal tidal energy (13–25% of the total). The wind associated with cold fronts in winter is the main factor controlling water circulation in the WLD and is a major driver in the spatial configuration of the channel network and delta progradation rates.« less
  3. Environmental temperature is a widely used variable to describe weather and climate conditions. The use of temperature anomalies to identify variations in climate and weather systems makes temperature a key variable to evaluate not only climate variability but also shifts in ecosystem structural and functional properties. In contrast to terrestrial ecosystems, the assessment of regional temperature anomalies in coastal wetlands is more complex since the local temperature is modulated by hydrology and weather. Thus, it is unknown how the regional free-air temperature (T Free ) is coupled to local temperature anomalies, which can vary across interfaces among vegetation canopy, water, and soil that modify the wetland microclimate regime. Here, we investigated the temperature differences (offsets) at those three interfaces in mangrove-saltmarsh ecotones in coastal Louisiana and South Florida in the northern Gulf of Mexico (2017–2019). We found that the canopy offset (range: 0.2–1.6°C) between T Free and below-canopy temperature (T Canopy ) was caused by the canopy buffering effect. The similar offset values in both Louisiana and Florida underscore the role of vegetation in regulating near-ground energy fluxes. Overall, the inundation depth did not influence soil temperature (T Soil ). The interaction between frequency and duration of inundation, however, significantlymore »modulated T Soil given the presence of water on the wetland soil surface, thus attenuating any short- or long-term changes in the T Canopy and T Free . Extreme weather events—including cold fronts and tropical cyclones—induced high defoliation and weakened canopy buffering, resulting in long-term changes in canopy or soil offsets. These results highlight the need to measure simultaneously the interaction between ecological and climatic processes to reduce uncertainty when modeling macro- and microclimate in coastal areas under a changing climate, especially given the current local temperature anomalies data scarcity. This work advances the coupling of Earth system models to climate models to forecast regional and global climate change and variability along coastal areas.« less
    Free, publicly-accessible full text available May 12, 2023
  4. In this paper, subtidal responses of Barataria Bay to an atmospheric cold front in 2014 and Hurricane Barry of 2019 are studied. The cold fronts had shorter influencing periods (1 to 3 days), while Hurricane Barry had a much longer influencing period (about 1 week). Wind direction usually changes from southern quadrants to northern quadrants before and after a cold front’s passage. For a hurricane making its landfall at the norther Gulf of Mexico coast, wind variation is dependent on the location relative to the location of landfall. Consequently, water level usually reaches a trough after the maximum cold front wind usually; while after the maximum wind during a hurricane, water level mostly has a surge, especially on the right-hand side of the hurricane. Water level variation induced by Hurricane Barry is about 3 times of that induced by a cold front event. Water volume flux also shows differences under these two weather types: the volume transport during Hurricane Barry was 4 times of that during a cold front. On the other hand, cold front events are much more frequent (30–40 times a year), and they lead to more frequent exchange between Barataria Bay and the coastal ocean.
  5. Two sessions were organized during the 2018 Fall AGU Meeting entitled, (1) Coastal Response to Extreme Events: Fidelity of Model Predictions of Surge, Inundation, and Morphodynamics and (2) Improved Observational and Modeling Skills to Understand the Hurricane and Winter Storm Induced Surge and Meteotsunami. The focus of these sessions was on examining the impact of natural disasters on estuarine and coastal regions worldwide, including the islands and mainland in the northwestern Atlantic and the northwestern Pacific. The key research interests are the investigations on the regional dynamics of storm surges, coastal inundations, waves, tides, currents, sea surface temperatures, storm inundations and coastal morphology using both numerical models and observations during tropical and extratropical cyclones. This Special Issue (SI) ‘Estuarine and coastal natural hazards’ in Estuarine Coastal and Shelf Science is an outcome of the talks presented at these two sessions. Five themes are considered (effects of storms of wave dynamics; tide and storm surge simulations; wave-current interaction during typhoons; wave effects on storm surges and hydrodynamics; hydrodynamic and morphodynamic responses to typhoons), arguably reflecting areas of greatest interest to researchers and policy makers. This synopsis of the articles published in the SI allows us to obtain a better understanding ofmore »the dynamics of natural hazards (e.g., storm surges, extreme waves, and storm induced inundation) from various physical aspects. The discussion in the SI explores future dimensions to comprehend numerical models with fully coupled windwave- current-morphology interactions at high spatial resolutions in the nearshore and surf zone during extreme wind events. In addition, it would be worthwhile to design numerical models incorporating climate change projections (sea level rise and global warming temperatures) for storm surges and coastal inundations to allow more precisely informed coastal zone management plans.« less