20 Oct 2022
20 Oct 2022
Status: this preprint is open for discussion.

The effects of Hurricane Harvey on Texas coastal zone chemistry

Piers Chapman1,2, Steven F. DiMarco1,2, Anthony H. Knap1,2, Antonietta Quigg1,3, and Nan D. Walker4 Piers Chapman et al.
  • 1Department of Oceanography, Texas A&M University, College Station, TX 77843
  • 2Geochemical and Environmental Research Group, Texas A&M University, College Station, TX 77843
  • 3Department of Marine Biology, Texas A&M University, Galveston, TX 77553
  • 4Department of Oceanography and Coastal Sciences, Louisiana State University, Baton Rouge, LA, 70803

Abstract. Hurricane Harvey deposited over 90 billion cubic meters of rainwater over central Texas, USA, during late August/early September 2017. During four cruises (June, August, September and November 2017) we observed changes in hydrography, nutrient and oxygen concentrations in Texas coastal waters. Despite intense terrestrial runoff, nutrient supply to the coastal ocean was transient, with little phytoplankton growth observed and no hypoxia. Observations suggest this was probably related to the retention of nutrients in the coastal bays, rapid uptake by phytoplankton of nutrients washed out of the bays, as well as dilution by the sheer volume of rainwater, and the lack of significant carbon reserves in the sediments, despite the imposition of a strong pycnocline. By the November cruise conditions had apparently returned to normal and no long-term effects were observed.

Piers Chapman et al.

Status: open (until 15 Dec 2022)

Comment types: AC – author | RC – referee | CC – community | EC – editor | CEC – chief editor | : Report abuse
  • RC1: 'Comment on egusphere-2022-1075', Anonymous Referee #1, 24 Oct 2022 reply
  • RC2: 'Comment on egusphere-2022-1075', Anonymous Referee #2, 20 Nov 2022 reply

Piers Chapman et al.


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Short summary
Hurricane Harvey led to unprecedented rainfall over south central Texas in August/September 2017. We obtained physical and chemical data from the affected offshore area both before and after the hurricane passed. Despite the intense rainfall, the effects on the coastal ocean were apparently only short-lived and we did not observe major blooms of plankton or inputs of nutrients, possibly because of there sheer volume of rainwater that diluted any runoff.