Task 3B - Jenna Brown

The focus of Task 3B is to measure waves and water levels on the coast and over land during major storm events, to be used for model validation. We are aiming to advance rapid response capabilities for measuring storm-induced hydrodynamics, particularly within the nearshore waters and on the open beach.

We are building upon the leadership and expertise of the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) in coastal storm flood monitoring for conducting our land-based deployments. The USGS has collected valuable storm-tide data for every major storm since Hurricane Rita in 2005, using a combination of permanent and temporary in-situ water level sensors and high-water mark surveys after the storm. After Hurricane Sandy in 2012, the USGS developed the Surge, Wave, and Tide Hydrodynamics (SWaTH) Network to increase USGS capabilities to reactively deploy many highly mobile, temporary water level sensors along the coastline in the days prior to a hurricane landfall, which record the magnitude, timing, and duration of storm-induced water levels. To date, the USGS SWaTH Network consists of hundreds of pre-identified, and sometimes pre-installed and pre-surveyed, sites for deployment of water level sensors along the entire Atlantic (Maine to Florida), and Gulf of Mexico (Florida to Texas) coastlines.

To compliment the USGS SWaTH deployments inland, which utilize the somewhat randomized yet spatially dense, concentrated network of pre-identified water level sites, this work will focus on collecting measurements on the open coast, in two cross-shore transects extending overland and seaward, across the dune, beach and into nearshore waters. Obtaining measurements in this dynamic region, where storm-driven surge and waves manifest turbulent currents, induce sediment transport, impose significant forces on both natural and manmade structures, and result in dynamic morphologic change, is notoriously challenging but critical for understanding and accurately modeling hurricane impacts at the coast.

Learn more about the USGS SWaTH network and related work here: https://www.usgs.gov/mission-areas/water-resources/science/surge-wave-and-tide-hydrodynamics-swath-network

Deployment of a SWaTH sensor ahead of Hurricane Dorian on a fishing pier on the North Carolina coast.
Screen capture of the USGS SWaTH Network sites along the U.S. Atlantic and Gulf of Mexico coastlines.

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