Pearce, Stuart (2012-02). Coastal Trapped Waves Generated By Hurricane Andrew on the Texas-Louisiana Shelf. Master's Thesis. Thesis uri icon


  • The Texas-Louisiana Shelf Circulation and Transport Study featured moorings that covered the shelf during 1992 to 1994, and captured the oceanic response on the shelf to category 4 Hurricane Andrew in August of 1992. Eighty-one current meters distributed over 31 moorings along several contours of isobaths provided excellent spatial and temporal coverage over the shelf. The low-frequency variability (2 days and longer) of current observations and tide gauges to the West of the storm are analyzed after the passage of Andrew, focusing on the region outside of direct hurricane forcing. Wavelet analyses are utilized to investigate the dominant periods excited by the storm over the shelf and their temporal evolution after forcing has subsided. Subsequent to the storm's passage, the observations and wavelet transforms show a two-to-four day period coastal trapped wave that propagate westward at speeds near 6 m/s and then around the Texas bend along the bathymetry. The signal remains detectable in observations as far south as Port Isabel, Texas. The prominent frequencies determined from wavelet analysis are compared with predicted coastal trapped wave dispersion modes and show good agreement in the predicted group speed and cross-shelf structure of the first mode. The energies calculated from the data indicate a largely barotropic shelf wave response which is corroborated in the observed currents and by theory.

publication date

  • December 2011