Coastal Research – Storm 101

music
ambience Ocean waves, wind

There’s no better time to observe the dynamics of the coastline than in the midst of a storm. I’m Jim Metzner, and this is the Pulse of the Planet.

“The instrumentation is one of the world’s most accurate directional wave gauges off here to the north that’s underwater, and we cable back to the computers in the laboratory building. ”

Carl Miller is a research oceanographer at the Army Corps of Engineers Field Research Facility on North Carolina’s Outer Banks. During a Nor’easter, the wind can blow up to 30 to forty miles an hour and waves can move thousands of yards of cubic sand can be moved along the shoreline in the course of an hour. The research facility tracks these phenomena with an array of devices.

“The anemometers that are measuring the wind speed and wind direction, and we have current meters without moving parts that can withstand these tremendous forces. And then we have the Sensor Insertion System, which we can use to actually measure the concentration of sediment in the water and how fast it’s moving across the surf zone. And when we can’t get out here and make those measurements, we use remote sensing, like video imaging from cameras on a forestry tower on the beach there. And we look at that and document how the sandbar moves and changes positions and where the waves break.”

“It’s important that the scientists are at the sea so they can observe, and then when they go back and make their numerical models, it has a sense of reality. This isn’t done in an ivory tower. This is actually done by people who come out to the ocean and get wet and experience this firsthand. Then they have reality in what they do. If you’re going to study the sea you need to be at the sea. Go the sea and observe and then develop your numerical models.”

Pulse of the Planet is made possible by the National Science Foundation. I’m Jim Metzner. music

Coastal Research - Storm 101

A unique array of instrumentation enable scientists at the Outer Banks Field Research station to take the pulse of the shoreline, even in the midst of a storm.
Air Date:08/28/2009
Scientist:
Transcript:

music
ambience Ocean waves, wind

There's no better time to observe the dynamics of the coastline than in the midst of a storm. I'm Jim Metzner, and this is the Pulse of the Planet.

"The instrumentation is one of the world's most accurate directional wave gauges off here to the north that's underwater, and we cable back to the computers in the laboratory building. "

Carl Miller is a research oceanographer at the Army Corps of Engineers Field Research Facility on North Carolina's Outer Banks. During a Nor'easter, the wind can blow up to 30 to forty miles an hour and waves can move thousands of yards of cubic sand can be moved along the shoreline in the course of an hour. The research facility tracks these phenomena with an array of devices.

"The anemometers that are measuring the wind speed and wind direction, and we have current meters without moving parts that can withstand these tremendous forces. And then we have the Sensor Insertion System, which we can use to actually measure the concentration of sediment in the water and how fast it's moving across the surf zone. And when we can't get out here and make those measurements, we use remote sensing, like video imaging from cameras on a forestry tower on the beach there. And we look at that and document how the sandbar moves and changes positions and where the waves break."

"It's important that the scientists are at the sea so they can observe, and then when they go back and make their numerical models, it has a sense of reality. This isn't done in an ivory tower. This is actually done by people who come out to the ocean and get wet and experience this firsthand. Then they have reality in what they do. If you're going to study the sea you need to be at the sea. Go the sea and observe and then develop your numerical models."

Pulse of the Planet is made possible by the National Science Foundation. I'm Jim Metzner. music