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26.01.2018 09:00 Age: 3 yrs

Rough sea state during Carmen and Eleanor storms

Category: Ocean and climate news

In early January 2018, the two storms Carmen and Eleanor hit french coasts. Satellite and in-situ instruments were able to measure the waves height at the passage of these storms.

Photo prise par @didierfouasson85, Facebook, aux Sables d'Olonne lors de la tempête Carmen.

Credits @didierfouasson85, 2018.

In early January, the two storms Carmen and Eleanor lined up off the western european coasts and one after another,  headed due east, south east, two days apart. In a few hours, on the day of January 1, 2018, the storm Carmen reached the whole country: first Brittany area early in the day before moved into Corsica at the end of the day. A new gust of wind followed very quickly: on the days of 02 and 03 January, Eleanor tracked up through a large part of the hexagon.

Waves and gusts caused damage to the coast and all along the land path of both storms. At sea, satellite and in-situ instruments were able to measure the waves height at the passage of these storms.

The in-situ buoy at 13 km off Cap Ferret (Gironde) from CANDHIS network measured significant wave height of more than 8 m, on January 1, 2018, at 05:00 pm (Figure 1 below).

The Sables d'Olonne (Vendée) tide gauge from the REFMAR network measured a surge between 0.6 m and 0.7 m in the morning of January 1, 2018 (Figure 2). Unlike storm Xynthia, in February 2010, the peak of the Carmen storm occurred during a low tide (Figure 2).

The Jason-3 (conventional altimeter) and Sentinel-3A (SAR altimeter) satellites flew over the Bay of Biscay area as the storm occured. For example, Jason-3 measured a 9.7m wave off Île de Ré (Charente Maritime) on January, 1, 2018, 8:25 am (pass 248, cycle 0069).

Significant Wave Heights from in-situ CANDHIS buoys

Hauteurs de vagues en Atlantique mesurées par les bouées du réseau CANDHIS au passage de Carmen et Eleanor début 2018

Figure1: Significant Wave Heights (H1/3) measured from buoys on CANDHIS network when the stroms Carmen and Eleanor hit the french coasts in early January 2018. An another plot is available here for 3 buoys off Medirranean coasts (Banyuls, Porquerolles et La Revellata). Credits CANDHIS (plot and interface) and CEREMA (photo on the buoy, in the middle).

Sea level due to tides and surges from REFMAR tide gauges

Figure2: Visualisation Interface for tide gauges data from REFMAR network, SHOM (left). The selected tide gauge is located in Les Sables d'Olonne as the storms occured. Credits SHOM-CCI Vendée.

Significant Wave Heights Jason-3 and Sentinel-3A satellites

Figure3: Significant Wave Heights (H1/3) measured by Jason-3 (left) and Sentinel-3A (right) as Carmen et Eleanor, at the passage of the storms, between 2017/12/31 and 2018/01/03. Credits EU Copernicus Marine Service.

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