Eos, Transactions American Geophysical Union

Comment on “Satellite altimetry and the intensification of Hurricane Katrina”



In a recent Eos article, Scharroo et al. [2005] reported that the dynamic sea topography anomalies along the track of Hurricane Katrina were the most prominent factors causing the intensification of Katrina as it passed over these anomalous regions in the Gulf of Mexico. They show that the sea surface temperature (SST) in the entire Gulf of Mexico was uniformly ∼30°C and was not associated with the rapid intensification of Katrina.

We partly agree with their findings based on the results of dynamic topography associated with Katrina's intensification; however, we do not concur with their idea that SST was not linked with the rapid intensification of Katrina. Here, we show the significant impact of high SST anomaly in the Gulf on Katrina's rapid intensification and the role of anomalous SST in governing the air-sea interactions during its intensification.