Coastal Research – Meet the CRAB

Outer Banks Coastal Research – MeasurementsMusic; Ambience: Ocean waves, windJM: Coastlines are heavily populated regions, important for recreation, commerce, not to mention prime real estate for homes. They’re also like a living buffer, an interface between the land and sea. I’m Jim Metzner, and this is the Pulse of the Planet. If you want to study the coastline, you’ve got to gather data, take measurements, even down to monitoring grains of sand.BB: “We have current meters to measure the flow of the water. We have sensors to give us the water depth, the tide, and the storm surge. We have a number of different ways we measure the waves.”JM: Bill Birkemeier is director of the Army Corps of Engineers Field Research Facility on North Carolina’s Outer Banks.BB: “We also – to measure the response, we have the CRAB. This is our 35 foot tall Coastal Research Amphibious Buggy, which is a tripod on wheels powered by a Volkswagen engine that we drive out from the beach right offshore to map how the bottom has changed. As we drive out, we’re doing a map. Just as a surveyor would map your backyard or your street, we do the same thing, but we do it in the water. Then we use some other devices to try to see which way the actual grains are moving. In fact, we have taken particles of sand, and we coat them with a dye or a tracer material, and try to track their movements to see if-also if they move the way we expect them to move. So we have our studies address a lot of different scales from grains to the large-scale features of the coast. The value of a facility like ours is that because we’re measuring in the real world, people who are interested in trying to simulate it and see how well they’re doing, they use our data to get proof of concept, proof of theory, proof of hypothesis.” JM: We’ll hear more on coastline research in future programs. Pulse of the Planet is made possible by the National Science Foundation. I’m Jim Metzner.

Coastal Research - Meet the CRAB

Picture an amphibious buggy riding atop a 35 foot tripod.
Air Date:09/08/2020
Scientist:
Transcript:

Outer Banks Coastal Research - MeasurementsMusic; Ambience: Ocean waves, windJM: Coastlines are heavily populated regions, important for recreation, commerce, not to mention prime real estate for homes. They're also like a living buffer, an interface between the land and sea. I'm Jim Metzner, and this is the Pulse of the Planet. If you want to study the coastline, you've got to gather data, take measurements, even down to monitoring grains of sand.BB: "We have current meters to measure the flow of the water. We have sensors to give us the water depth, the tide, and the storm surge. We have a number of different ways we measure the waves."JM: Bill Birkemeier is director of the Army Corps of Engineers Field Research Facility on North Carolina's Outer Banks.BB: "We also - to measure the response, we have the CRAB. This is our 35 foot tall Coastal Research Amphibious Buggy, which is a tripod on wheels powered by a Volkswagen engine that we drive out from the beach right offshore to map how the bottom has changed. As we drive out, we're doing a map. Just as a surveyor would map your backyard or your street, we do the same thing, but we do it in the water. Then we use some other devices to try to see which way the actual grains are moving. In fact, we have taken particles of sand, and we coat them with a dye or a tracer material, and try to track their movements to see if-also if they move the way we expect them to move. So we have our studies address a lot of different scales from grains to the large-scale features of the coast. The value of a facility like ours is that because we're measuring in the real world, people who are interested in trying to simulate it and see how well they're doing, they use our data to get proof of concept, proof of theory, proof of hypothesis." JM: We'll hear more on coastline research in future programs. Pulse of the Planet is made possible by the National Science Foundation. I'm Jim Metzner.