Program Details

The Effects of Hurricanes on the Gulf Stream:  Implications for South Florida Sea Levels  - Delray Beach

William Baxley

Course Description

OLLI at FAU on location in Delray Beach! The Delray Beach Downtown Development Authority, which is now operating Old School Square, is hosting OLLI at FAU for a special series of lectures at the Square. The lectures will focus on South Florida climate and coastal issues. Join us at the Vintage Gym located at Old School Square, 51 N. Swinton Avenue (at Atlantic Avenue) in Downtown Delray Beach.  Free parking at the Old School Parking Garage located at 180 NE 1st St, Delray Beach, FL 33444.
Enjoy a day in Delray, come for the lecture and enjoy lunch at one of the restaurants located along the Square!

During the passage of Hurricane Sandy in 2012, although the storm’s closest point of approach to the Florida coast was over 300 nautical miles, underwater current measurements indicated a significant change in the Gulf Stream’s flow speed and direction. Subsequent hurricanes Irma in 2017 and Ian and Nicole in 2022, verified this phenomenon and provided more detailed information. The effects were significant coastal flooding along the southeastern coastline. This lecture describes the equipment and deployment methods used, collected data, visualization techniques, and preliminary data analysis of the flow changes and the implications for coastal flooding in regions where hurricanes are common. 

About the Instructor

  • William Baxley, P.E. has more than 30 years of experience in ocean engineering and offshore operations, including 16 years as a U.S. Navy test engineer and diving officer. He has been involved in all aspects of ocean technology, including all class of underwater vehicles, advanced diving operations, and deployment/recovery operations of large complex systems. He is proficient in finite element cable and structure modeling and is active in several design projects for ocean energy and academic research projects. He currently serves as Chief Engineer for Florida Atlantic University’s Southeast National Marine Renewable Energy Center (SNMREC). He is responsible for the overall planning, operation, and maintenance of an offshore ocean energy test facility, and all technical support for center users.