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The interactions between waves and storm surge are investigated using an unstructured grid, coupled wave-surge model forced by a hypothetical Ivan-like hurricane impacting the Tampa Bay, Florida region. The waves derived from the unstructured version of the third-generation wave model simulating waves nearshore. The surge derives from the unstructured Finite-Volume Coastal Ocean Model, to which wave-induced forces (based on radiation stress theory) are added to the traditional forces by winds and atmospheric pressure. Dependent upon complex bathymetry and geometry, the wave-induced forces result in an additional 0.3 similar to 0.5 m of surge relative to an uncoupled, surge-only simulation, and the increase in coastal sea level by the storm surge adds some 1.0 similar to 1.5 m to the significant wave heights nearshore. Such strong interactions through coupling suggest that waves should not be omitted in hurricane storm surge simulations, especially because the forces by waves on coastal structures are perhaps the most damaging of the hurricane related forces.

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Journal of Geophysical Research - Oceans, v. 115, article C12009.