Wetland and Aquatic Research Center
On the Ground
Our Science Response Vehicle is suited for rapid response to natural disasters throughout the U.S.
On the Water
WARC helped boat search and rescue efforts post-Hurricane Katrina
From the Air
Aerial shots revealed the extent of Hurricane Katrina flooding
Tropical storms and hurricanes wreak havoc with coastal forests where damage can vary with wind speed and approach from isolated treefalls to wide-area blowdowns of whole forests.
Significant damage to coastal communities and surrounding wetlands of the north Atlantic states was caused by Hurricane Sandy in late October 2012, mostly tied to an associated storm surge of record extent and impact.
USGS is committed to meeting the science needs of four Native American Tribes impacted by Hurricane Sandy in New England and New York: the Wampanoag Tribe of Gay Head - Aquinnah on Martha’s Vineyard, MA; the Mashpee Wampanoag Tribe on Cape Cod, MA; the Narragansett Indian Tribe near Charlestown, RI; and the Shinnecock Indian Nation on Long Island.
Storm surge waves and tides of hurricanes have the propensity to wash up marsh detritus of dead reeds and leaf debris along with plastic trash and lumber, commonly referred to as wrack, from overwashed beaches, marshes, forests, streets, and lawns.
Support tasks performed by the WARC Advanced Applications Team for Hurricane Sandy-related projects include aerial imagery capture and processing, standards-compliant data formatting and transformation, metadata creation, and visualization of data in a spatial context.
The science of dating growth rings and history of live and fossil wood samples is called dendrochronology. This technique is valuable for conducting climate reconstructions where meteorological data is lacking and for detecting past disturbance events such as tropical storms and hurricanes.
As tropical storms and hurricanes move onshore and make landfall, wind and storm surge can be sufficiently high to damage built-infrastructure and natural systems, most notably coastal forests at the interface of land and sea.
High resolution imagery (aerial videography) was obtained of Hurricane Sandy to assess forest damage by documenting disturbed canopy and downed trees.
USGS scientists at the Wetland and Aquatic Research Center and other offices received funding for studies related to habitat change, storm surge and ecological modeling, migratory bird impacts, and other topics of interest. The Hurricane Sandy Spatial Data Mapping Application showcases the data and analytical products resulting from these studies.
USGS scientists are working with collaborators to understand how Hurricane Sandy impacted wetlands in Jamaica Bay, New York.
When it comes to hurricanes, wind and storm surge effect vegetation differently. USGS anlyzes these differences following Hurricane Sandy to help inform management on storm mitigation and long-term planning.
In light of the increase in hurricane frequency and intensity, there is concern about the resilience and sustainability of coastal wetlands. Models can be used to investigatethe impacts of future hurricanes on wetland morphology along the northeast coasts in areas like Jamaica Bay, New York, an area impacted by Hurricane Sandy.