Hurricanes of the Gulf Coast

This is an introductory survey course on hurricanes with an emphasis on hurricanes in the Gulf of Mexico. Topics include: 1) the hurricane problem along the Gulf Coast and a review of some of the infamous Gulf Coast hurricanes of the last 150 years; 2) Atlantic/Caribbean/Gulf hurricane climatology; 3) the effects of El Niño and multi-decadal changes in the Atlantic circulation on hurricane frequency; 4) favorable/unfavorable environments for hurricane development and intensification; 5) hurricane features and structure; 6) hurricane movement and steering mechanisms; 7) coastal and inland effects from landfalling Gulf Coast hurricanes; and 8) Gulf hurricane forecasting (where will the storm go and how strong will it be at landfall).

A half-day boat trip along much of the length of Dauphin Island is planned (weather permitting) during the last week of class to inspect the impact of recent hurricanes on this barrier island.