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Hurricanes of the Gulf of Mexico presents a comprehensive history and analysis of the hurricanes that occurred in the Gulf of Mexico from the 1800s to the present, reporting each hurricane's point of origin, oceanic and atmospheric influences, track, size, intensity, point of landfall, storm surge, and impact on life and the environment. Additional information describes the unique features of the Gulf that influence the development of hurricanes, and the problems of predicting hurricane activity in the coming years. Hurricanes of the Gulf of Mexico is illustrated with 52 photographs, 44 maps, and 15 charts, plus tables and graphs.
Down-core activities of 7Be, 234Th, and 210Pb, as well as X-radiography, have indicated the existence of sediments deposited by hurricanes Ivan (2004), Katrina (2005), and Rita (2005) on the continental margin west of the Mississippi Delta between Southwest Pass and the Mississippi Canyon. These radionuclides have fairly short half-lives on the order of days to decades, however, and their utility for the identification of hurricane events decreases with progressively older deposits. Foraminifera, which can be preserved for geologically significant amounts of time, may serve as another proxy for the detection of hurricane event beds. Here I investigate foraminiferal assemblages contained within recent, known hurricane units to determine whether they differ significantly from those of non-hurricane units and a unit deposited by a river flood event, and whether these differences might give insight into where the hurricane-deposited sediment originated. Cores were collected along the same transect during three different cruises in: 2004, 2005, and 2007; the timing of collection reflected periods of hurricane and non-hurricane influenced deposition. The transect runs southwest from Southwest Pass (~30 m water depth) to the head of the Mississippi Canyon (~170 m depth). Surface samples of a unit deposited by the 2011 Mississippi River flood event were also collected to allow comparison with hurricane units. Average relative abundances of foraminifera were analyzed for trends and ANOVA and discriminant analysis were utilized to determine whether the foraminiferal assemblages of hurricane and non-hurricane units were statistically discrete. Hurricane unit foraminifera very close to the mouth of Southwest Pass (9 km; ~30 m water depth) were more abundant per unit volume of sediment than pre-hurricane foraminifera at this location. Hurricane units further out on the shelf (> 80 m water depth) tended to contain less foraminifera per unit volume than did the non-hurricane units. Hurricane units also contained more textulariids and miliolids than the non-hurricane units, and sometimes contained rare marsh taxa. ANOVA results show that the abundances of 13 of the 32 most abundant taxa were statistically different between units when comparing all four unit types (hurricane, pre- and post-hurricane, flood, and bioturbated). Ten of these species were statistically different between hurricane and non-hurricane units; relative abundance of coastal taxa increased in the hurricane units. Discriminant analysis indicates that all four unit types are generally discrete. The species that contributed most to the discrimination of unit types were generally rare, and some were helpful in the determination of the origin of the hurricane-transported sediment. In contrast, the species that were significant in the ANOVA were among the most abundant. Thus, both abundant and rare species are useful for identifying hurricane deposited sediment. A portion of hurricane unit sediments was likely locally resuspended and redeposited (indicated by high relative abundances of those taxa which were abundant in the pre- and post- hurricane units). There is also evidence of seaward transport of sediment; some species that occur in the pre- and post-hurricane units only at the shallow end of the transect also occurred in hurricane units at the deeper end of the transect. In addition, hurricane units contained some rare marsh and upper slope taxa which were absent from the pre- and post-hurricane units, indicating some portion of the sediment in the hurricane units is derived from these environments. In summary, foraminifera can provide information on the provenance of hurricane-deposited sediment soon after deposition, but bioturbation can destroy this signal rapidly.
Observed near-surface air and sea-surface temperatures for three hurricanes -- Hilda (1964), Betsy (1965) and Camille (1969) -- were studied. Composites were made for each of the storms. These composites were oriented to true north, had diameters of 400 n mi and covered the period in the Gulf of Mexico prior to the time the hurricanes reached maximum intensity. The mean air temperature was less than the mean sea-surface temperature, and this difference varied from 1.2C in the outer region of the composites to 2.9C near the center. In the 24-hour period prior to maximum hurricane intensity, the difference was 4.3C near the center. The data also indicated that the distribution of air-sea temperature difference within the hurricanes varied by quadrant with the southeast quadrant containing the largest over-all average difference (2.4C) and the southwest quadrant averaging 1.1C.
Hurricane Elena, following an erratic and difficult-to-forecast course along an unusually large section of the Gulf Coast, posed special problems from New Orleans, Louisiana, to Sarasota, Florida, well before it came ashore on September 2, 1985. Considerable wind damage occurred in this area to structures that were ostensibly designed to resist such extreme wind conditions. Because similar design conditions and building control procedures exist along other U.S. hurricane-prone coasts, the conclusions drawn in this detailed book catalog the structural damage caused by the hurricane and emergency response actions, establish the wind conditions of the storm, review in-depth the building control process used in the area, and conduct necessary structural and wind tunnel tests relevant to a large number of communities along the coastal areas.
respect to both climate and society.
Hurricanes plague the tropics from June through November. Some years bring just a handful of storms. Other years, meteorologists run out of names because there are so many. Readers learn how and where these storms form and the dangers they pose to the land and people who live in Gulf and Atlantic coast regions.

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