Using Video Imagery to Study Wave Dynamics: Tres Palmas

Science Center Objects

Four video cameras look westward over the coast and the coral reef at Tres Palmas in Rincón, on the west coast of Puerto Rico. Two cameras look out at the horizon and over the ocean for the mid-field view; one camera offers a zoomed-in, far-field view overlooking the reef and out to the island of Desecheo, a U.S. National Wildlife Refuge; and another camera focuses on the beach.

Every half hour during daylight hours, the cameras collect snapshots and video for 10 minutes. Today’s most recent images are shown below. Please note that it takes 10 minutes for the images to be posted, once they are collected by the camera.

USGS scientists designed the station to measure wave run-up and flooding along Rincón. It is part of a study funded by USGS in response to Hurricanes Irma and Maria. USGS is partnering with the University of Puerto Rico-Mayaguez (UPR-M) to better understand how waves propagate across coral reefs and cause coastal flooding along tropical shorelines. Their goal is to reduce hazards to, and increase the resilience of, tropical coastal communities. UPR-M will use the findings to improve coastal hazard forecasts they provide with data from NOAA’s Caribbean Coastal Ocean Observing System (CariCOOS).

USGS plans to install similar systems in other U.S. locations. The knowledge gained will improve computer-derived simulations of coastal flooding and shoreline change that communities can use to plan for sea-level rise, changing storm patterns, and other threats to coasts.

Currently, video cameras are installed at these locations:

Please note: If old photos are displayed, cameras may be temporarily offline.

Snapshots

The snapshot is the first frame of the video, just like a standard photo.

Mid-field view, west-southwest (Larger version)

Mid-field view, west-northwest (Larger version)

Far-field view, west-northwest (Larger version)

Beach view, west (Larger version)

 

Timex (time-exposure) images

A timex is a time-averaged image of all frames, smoothing away surface waves and determining the location of persistent wave-breaking (indicative of shallow sandbars).

Mid-field view, west-southwest (Larger version)

Mid-field view, west-northwest (Larger version)

Far-field view, west-northwest (Larger version)

Beach view, west (Larger version)

 

Variance images

A “variance” image shows the standard deviation of pixel intensity throughout the video, and it is useful for determining how much variation or movement is occurring at a given location.

Mid-field view, west-southwest (Larger version)

Mid-field view, west-northwest (Larger version)

Far-field view, west-northwest (Larger version)

Beach view, west (Larger version)

 

Bright images

A “bright” image shows the brightest pixel values throughout the video, useful for identifying the position of maximum wave run-up on the beach, position of all breaking waves, and sea-state.

Mid-field view, west-southwest (Larger version)

Mid-field view, west-northwest (Larger version)

Far-field view, west-northwest (Larger version)

Beach view, west (Larger version)

 

Dark images

A “dark” image shows the darkest pixel values throughout the video, useful for tracking sediment plumes, tracking floating debris, and filtering out breaking waves.

Mid-field view, west-southwest (Larger version)

Mid-field view, west-northwest (Larger version)

Far-field view, west-northwest (Larger version)

Beach view, west (Larger version)