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William V. Sweet and Chris Zervas

Abstract

Climatologies of sea level anomalies (>0.05 m) and daily-mean storm surges (>0.3 m) are presented for the 1960–2010 cool seasons (October–April) along the East Coast of the United States at Boston, Massachusetts; Atlantic City, New Jersey; Sewells Point (Norfolk), Virginia; and Charleston, South Carolina. The high sea level anomaly and the number of storm surges, among the highest in the last half century during the 2009/10 cool season, are comparable during strong El Niño cool seasons. High numbers of daily storm surges occur in response to numerous East Coast extratropical cool-season storms and have a positive correlation with the El Niño phase of the El Niño–Southern Oscillation (ENSO). Patterns of anomalously high sea levels are attributed to El Niño–related changes to atmospheric pressure over the Gulf of Mexico and eastern Canada and to the wind field over the Northeast U.S. continental shelf.

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Joseph Park, Robert Heitsenrether, and William Sweet

Abstract

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) is transitioning the primary water level sensor at the majority of tide stations in the National Water Level Observation Network (NWLON) from an acoustic ranging system to a microwave radar system. Field comparison of the acoustic and microwave systems finds statistically equivalent performance when temperature gradients between the acoustic sensor and water surface are small and when significant wave height is less than roughly 0.5 m. When significant wave height is greater than approximately 0.5–1 m, the acoustic system consistently reports lower water levels. An analysis of 2 months of acoustic and microwave water level data at Duck, North Carolina, finds that the majority of differences between the two sensors can be attributed to systemic errors in the acoustic system and that the microwave system captures water level variability with higher fidelity than the acoustic system. NWLON real-time data products include the water level standard deviation, a statistic that can serve as a proxy for significant wave height. This study identifies 29 coastal water level stations that are candidates for monitoring wave height based on water level standard deviation, potentially adding a significant source of data for the sparsely sampled coastal wave fields around the United States, and finds that the microwave sensor is better suited than the acoustic system for wave height estimates.

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William V. Sweet, Melisa Menendez, Ayesha Genz, Jayantha Obeysekera, Joseph Park, and John J. Marra
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Fredric Lipschultz, David D. Herring, Andrea J. Ray, Jay R. Alder, LuAnn Dahlman, Arthur T. DeGaetano, James F. Fox, Edward P. Gardiner, Jamie Herring, Jeff Hicks, Forrest Melton, Philip E. Morefield, and William V. Sweet

Abstract

The goal of the U.S. Climate Resilience Toolkit’s (CRT) Climate Explorer (CE) is to provide information at appropriate spatial and temporal scales to help practitioners gain insights into the risks posed by climate change. Ultimately, these insights can lead to groups of local stakeholders taking action to build their resilience to a changing climate. Using CE, decision-makers can visualize decade-by-decade changes in climate conditions in their county and the magnitude of changes projected for the end of this century under two plausible emissions pathways. They can also check how projected changes relate to user-defined thresholds that represent points at which valued assets may become stressed, damaged, or destroyed. By providing easy access to authoritative information in an elegant interface, the Climate Explorer can help communities recognize—and prepare to avoid or respond to—emerging climate hazards. Another important step in the evolution of CE builds on the purposeful alignment of the CRT with the U.S. Global Change Research Program’s (USGCRP) National Climate Assessment (NCA). By closely linking these two authoritative resources, we envision that users can easily transition from static maps and graphs within NCA reports to dynamic, interactive versions of the same data within CE and other resources within the CRT, which they can explore at higher spatial scales or customize for their own purposes. The provision of consistent climate data and information—a result of collaboration among USGCRP’s federal agencies—will assist decision-making by other governmental entities, nongovernmental organizations, businesses, and individuals.

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Molly Baringer, Mariana B. Bif, Tim Boyer, Seth M. Bushinsky, Brendan R. Carter, Ivona Cetinić, Don P. Chambers, Lijing Cheng, Sanai Chiba, Minhan Dai, Catia M. Domingues, Shenfu Dong, Andrea J. Fassbender, Richard A. Feely, Eleanor Frajka-Williams, Bryan A. Franz, John Gilson, Gustavo Goni, Benjamin D. Hamlington, Zeng-Zhen Hu, Boyin Huang, Masayoshi Ishii, Svetlana Jevrejeva, William E. Johns, Gregory C. Johnson, Kenneth S. Johnson, John Kennedy, Marion Kersalé, Rachel E. Killick, Peter Landschützer, Matthias Lankhorst, Tong Lee, Eric Leuliette, Feili Li, Eric Lindstrom, Ricardo Locarnini, Susan Lozier, John M. Lyman, John J. Marra, Christopher S. Meinen, Mark A. Merrifield, Gary T. Mitchum, Ben Moat, Didier Monselesan, R. Steven Nerem, Renellys C. Perez, Sarah G. Purkey, Darren Rayner, James Reagan, Nicholas Rome, Alejandra Sanchez-Franks, Claudia Schmid, Joel P. Scott, Uwe Send, David A. Siegel, David A. Smeed, Sabrina Speich, Paul W. Stackhouse Jr., William Sweet, Yuichiro Takeshita, Philip R. Thompson, Joaquin A. Triñanes, Martin Visbeck, Denis L. Volkov, Rik Wanninkhof, Robert A. Weller, Toby K. Westberry, Matthew J. Widlansky, Susan E. Wijffels, Anne C. Wilber, Lisan Yu, Weidong Yu, and Huai-Min Zhang
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