Real-time access to satellite measurements has enhanced LSU faculty research on hurricane processes, prediction, and coastal impacts. This capability has allowed researchers to estimate the radius of maximum winds using satellite measurements from the storm's eye, a measure that can be used to estimate wave height and storm surges (Hsu, 2005). Researchers have also been able to investigate the effects of dry atmospheric masses, cool water upwelling, and oceanic heat content on hurricane track and intensity changes.
One study of oceanic conditions and mid to upper-level winds during Katrina (2005) and Rita (2005) demonstrated that both hurricanes experienced rapid intensification over Loop Current waters in the Gulf due to favorable upper level easterly winds in tandem with high oceanic heat content. In contrast to the 2005 hurricanes, a detailed analysis of Hurricane Ivan (2004) revealed that its intensity decreased as it crossed the Gulf due to dry air advection and a reduction in ocean energy due to cold water upwelllings, within large cold-core eddies along its track (Walker et al., GRL, 2005). Hurricane Ivan’s impacts on coastal shelf/slope circulation and on beach morphology changes were also assessed (Stone et al., 2005). Using higher resolution images from Radarat-1 SAR and SPOT we quantified the conversion of land to water in southeast Louisiana wetlands.