Resource Assessment

Assessing Hurricane Impacts on the Gulf Stream

Led by James VanZwieten, Ph.D and Bill Baxley, P.E.
Affiliated Home Campus: Boca Raton
Affiliated Department: Southeast National Marine Renewable Energy Center


During the summer of 2018, Nathan Small was mentored by James VanZwieten and Bill Baxley as he researched the effects of hurricanes on Florida’s Gulf Stream. Several visualizations were created illustrating the path of a hurricane in relation to velocity profiles in the Gulf Stream. Nathan’s study of water velocity and shear anomalies produced by hurricanes Sandy and Irma provide insight into the adverse condition within the Gulf Stream, especially those affecting Turbine placement and design. Research primarily focused on observing velocity shear profiles throughout the water column to quantify the intensity and range of hurricane impacts on normal current flow. Additionally, Nathan created a visualization toolbox generalized to display future acoustic Doppler current profiler (ADCP) hurricane data via graphs of velocity shear and animations with a time series coordinating the hurricane path, velocity profiles, and averaged vs instantaneous flow.

Click here to watch the student presentation.

HBOI ocean fish