MIAMI As Hurricane Isaac barreled toward New Orleans, a team led by University of Miami (UM) Professor and Deep-C (Deep Sea to Coast Connectivity in the Eastern Gulf of Mexico) Co-Principal Investigator Nick Shay was planning NOAA's P-3 aircraft missions to fly into the storm. Dr. Benjamin Jaimes and UM graduate students Jodi Brewster and Ryan Shuster prepared and loaded 39 profilers into the plane. Their goal: to drop these profilers into the storm at optimum locations where they could collect measurements of ocean heat content, salinity and currents during the hurricane.
"We wanted to collect data from the DeSoto Canyon area where the Deepwater Horizon incident occurred, so we could capture the upwelling as it was occurring," said Shay, who is an expert on the Loop Current and regularly studies weather in this region. "We used operational products that we developed for NOAA's National Environmental Satellite Data and Information Service (NESDIS) to study the warm and cold core eddy ahead of the storm to establish drop points and deploy three different types of devices that penetrate to depths of 4,500 feet."
Prior to Hurricane Isaac the team flew over the area and deployed 54 devices to collect baseline oceanic and atmospheric data over the shelf and shelf break. After the storm, the team worked with the flight crew at NOAA's Aircraft Operation Center located at McDill Air Force Base to deploy another 67 probes and get a post-hurricane snapshot of the area tying the response from several research flights. The information from each of the flights is being analyzed by scientists, and for input into both research models that are being developed for Deep-C as well as operational models at forecasting centers.
"From previous hurricanes like Ivan and Frederic we knew this area was prone to upwelling, and deep sea responses to the events taking place in the atmosphere. These areas have high humidity and strong surface wind activity,
|Contact: Barbra Gonzalez, UM Rosenstiel School|
University of Miami Rosenstiel School of Marine & Atmospheric Science