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Kelsey N. Ellis, Jill C. Trepanier, and Robert E. Hodges

Abstract

The characteristics and conditions favoring extreme hurricanes remain largely unknown because of their small number in the observational record. Synthetic tracks are capable of providing a large, representative sample of these events, which provides an opportunity to further understanding of extreme characteristics as compared with those of more common tropical cyclones. The authors compare 300 synthetic extreme (100-yr event, ≥48.9 m s−1) and 300 common (5-yr event, ≤33.6 m s−1) tropical cyclones for Charleston, South Carolina, for differences in spatial, temporal, and other characteristics. Results suggest that extreme hurricanes have a more-defined spatial and temporal behavior, generally forming off the coast of Africa and making a direct landfall at Charleston. Common tropical cyclones sometimes make prior landfalls, may approach from either the Gulf of Mexico or the Atlantic Ocean, and often decay well before reaching Charleston. They are likely to occur through much of the hurricane season, whereas extreme events are most common during a short period toward the end of August. There is no significant difference between common and extreme translational velocity at landfall. This study demonstrates the opportunity that synthetic tracks provide for understanding the rarest hurricanes and provides initial insight into those affecting Charleston.

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Jill C. Trepanier, Michael J. Roberts, and Barry D. Keim

Abstract

Annual average and maximum spells with no precipitation in the southern United States are analyzed. In this study, dry spells are defined as consecutive days with no measurable rainfall. The study area includes 70 weather stations in Texas, Oklahoma, Louisiana, Arkansas, Mississippi, and Tennessee. Interarrival times between daily precipitation records for each station provide the data for this analysis. All 70 stations were analyzed from 1950 to 2013. Six stations that each have data for more than 100 years were analyzed for the period from 1908 to 2013. Approximately 25% of stations in the region show significant negative trends through time, indicating that dry spells have become shorter through time at these locations. The strongest geographical indicator for the number of consecutive dry days across this region was longitude. Dry spells tend to have had longer durations at the westernmost stations because of natural climatological controls.

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Clay S. Tucker, Jill C. Trepanier, Pamela B. Blanchard, Ed Bush, James W. Jordan, Mark J. Shafer, and John Andrew Nyman

Abstract

Environmental education is key in solving environmental problems and for producing a future workforce capable of solving issues of climate change. Over the last two decades, the Coastal Roots Program at Louisiana State University (LSU) has reached more than 26,676 K-12 students in Louisiana to teach them environmental science and has brought them to restoration sites to plant 194,336 school-grown trees and grasses. The co-directors of Coastal Roots are continually searching for opportunities to enrich the experience of teachers and students in connecting school subjects, Coastal Roots, and stewardship. In school year 2018–2019, students in five local schools entered a pilot program to learn how tree-ring science informs environmental science broadly. During their scheduled restoration planting trips, students were asked to collect the following tree data: tree cores, tree height, tree diameter, tree species, and global positioning system location points. Datawere given to scientists atLSUfor preliminary analysis, and graphical representation of the data were shown to the students for their interpretation. Results from this program indicate that bringing students into the field and teaching them a newscientific skill improved their understanding of environmental science and their role in coastal restoration, and tree-ring data showed significant correlations to various climate parameters in Louisiana. Additionally, we find that bringing this knowledge to teachers allows the knowledge to spread for multiple generations of students. Here we present tree-ring data from this project, lessons learned during the pilot program, advantages to student-based citizen science, and recommendations for similar programs.

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