A fast-access hindcast database for the Gulf of Mexico hurricane wind, wave, and current has been created as compacted disk files on IBM mainframe computer. The wind and wave were hindcast using extensively verified deep and shallow water models. Currents were hindcast using a storm surge model and a layered current model. The access to the database is through full screen panels where specific needs are typed in. Examples of accessing data are presented to illustrate the uses of the database.


Gulf of Mexico hurricane wind, wave, and current hindcast data is on 19 magnetic tapes (9 for wind and wave, 7 for current, and one for hurricane tracks). Repeated use of accessing hindcast data on. Numerous tapes for criteria development is time-consuming, expensive and prone to error. High speed disk database containing most frequently used results was created to improve productivity and quality.

The database has been routinely used for over five years now in developing design criteria and evaluating existing platforms. It could also be easily used as a research tool to study the Gulf of Mexico climatology.

This paper describes the database and presents examples of accessing wind, wave, current, and hurricane track data. Models used in producing hindcast data are described briefly. This is followed b a short description of the contents of the database and accessing methods. One example each of accessing (i) wave, (ii) current, and (iii) hurricane tracks are presented. Other possible uses of the existing database and possible future additions to the database are briefly mentioned. Finally, some of our conclusions are presented.

Summary of Hindcasting and Analysis Procedures

Gulf of Mexico historic hurricane hindcasting was performed for the most severe storms that have occurred during this century. The computer models generated complete oceanographic and atmospheric descriptions of the hurricane winds, waves, storm surges, and currents for each storm after detailed calibration and verification with measurements in five hurricanes.

All 1900 through 1985 hurricanes with central pressures less than 982 mb were hindcast along the Texas-Louisiana coast. Another set of storms was added to the list consisting of all minimal hurricanes or strong tropical storms that occurred since 1940 when data quality improved dramatically.

Wind fields for each storm were simulated using a planetary boundary layer model as described by Cardone (1976). Storm surge modeling was performed using a finite difference depth average representation of the Gulf of Mexico incorporating the effects of wind distress, coriolis forcing, atmospheric pressure gradients, bottom stress and astronomical tide. Storm surge model results were also used to produce depth-averaged currents in depths less than 100 m.

Currents were also hindcast using a three-dimensional layered current model described by Cooper and Thompson (1989) which is a finite-difference formulation using the nonlinear primitive equations including conservation of heat.

Directional spectral wave modeling was performed using a numerical model that included a depth-dependent nonlinear wave-wave interaction source term, refraction and shoaling, bottom friction and percolation, and shallow water breaking.

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