Coastal Model Applications and Field Measurements
Science Center Objects
Numerical models are used by scientists, engineers, coastal managers, and the public to understand and predict processes in the coastal ocean. This project supports the development and application of open-source coastal models and has several objectives: 1) improve the code of numerical sediment-transport models by implementing new or improved algorithms; 2) obtain measurements of coastal ocean processes to test and verify models; 3) develop new instruments or analysis techniques to make these measurements; and 4) develop software tools and standards to facilitate analysis, comparison, and visualization of observations and models. Study sites are selected for characteristics needed for model development and testing, as well as to address issues of national or regional importance.
This project houses several components, including: model code development; advances in instrumentation, field measurements, and analysis; development of standards and software tools for analysis of model output and comparison with observations; and model applications intended to test model capabilities, capitalize on unique partnering opportunities or field experiments, or address problems of societal relevance that are urgent and/or require new modeling capabilities.
Numerical ocean models are used by scientists, engineers, and coastal managers to understand and predict the effects of physical, biological, and chemical processes in the coastal ocean. This project has four objectives: 1) improve the code of open-source numerical models by implementing new or improved algorithms for processes related to sediment transport; 2) provide measurements of coastal ocean processes to test and verify models; and 3) develop new instruments or analysis techniques to make these measurements; and 4) develop software tools and standards to facilitate incorporation of observations with models and comparison among models. The overall objective is to support development of open-source models that are useful for addressing important problems related to natural hazards and ecosystem change in the coastal ocean.
Below are other science projects associated with this project.
Date published: August 31, 2018Status: Active
The U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) and Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI) led a project funded by the National Oceanographic Partnership Program (NOPP) with support from the Office of Naval Research (ONR) and the National Science Foundation (NSF), to develop a community sediment-transport modeling system (CSTMS).
Date published: August 31, 2018Status: Active
Ocean models provide critical information for coastal and marine spatial planning, emergency responders and for understanding implications of climate change and human activities. Models are run by numerous academic institutions and government agencies, typically with different access protocols that stifle use, comparison with data, and innovation.
Date published: August 31, 2018Status: Active
Several components of this project are applications to evaluate the model against critical field measurements or to test new model components. Data from field measurements is described in our publications and available in our databases.
Date published: August 31, 2018Status: Active
Ongoing acquisition of new instruments and development of analytical methods provides us with the means to make better observations of coastal ocean processes. The measurements provide us with insight and data for critical evaluation of model performance. Advances in a range of measurement capabilities, including bottom stress, sediment erodibility, water properties and nutrient concentrations...
Below are publications associated with this project.
Year Published: 2014
Alexandrium fundyense cysts in the Gulf of Maine: long-term time series of abundance and distribution, and linkages to past and future blooms
Here we document Alexandrium fundyense cyst abundance and distribution patterns over nine years (1997 and 2004–2011) in the coastal waters of the Gulf of Maine (GOM) and identify linkages between those patterns and several metrics of the severity or magnitude of blooms occurring before and after each autumn cyst survey. We also explore the...Anderson, Donald M.; Keafer, Bruce A.; Kleindinst, Judith L.; McGillicuddy, Dennis J.; Martin, Jennifer L.; Norton, Kerry; Pilskaln, Cynthia H.; Smith, Juliette L.; Sherwood, Christopher R.; Butman, BradfordAlexandrium fundyense cysts in the Gulf of Maine: long-term time series of abundance and distribution, and linkages to past and future blooms; 2014; Article; Journal; Deep Sea Research Part II: Topical Studies in Oceanography; Anderson, Donald, M.; Keafer, Bruce A.; Kleindinst, Judith L.; McGillicuddy, Dennis J., Jr.; Martin, Jennifer L.; Norton, Kerry; Pilskaln, Cynthia H.; Smith, Juliette L.; Sherwood, Christopher R.; Butman, Bradford
Quantifying the residence time and flushing characteristics of a shallow, back-barrier estuary: Application of hydrodynamic and particle tracking models
Estuarine residence time is a major driver of eutrophication and water quality. Barnegat Bay-Little Egg Harbor (BB-LEH), New Jersey, is a lagoonal back-barrier estuary that is subject to anthropogenic pressures including nutrient loading, eutrophication, and subsequent declines in water quality. A combination of hydrodynamic and particle tracking...Defne, Zafer; Ganju, Neil K.
Physical and biogeochemical controls on light attenuation in a eutrophic, back-barrier estuary
Light attenuation is a critical parameter governing the ecological function of shallow estuaries. In these systems primary production is often dominated by benthic macroalgae and seagrass; thus light penetration to the bed is of primary importance. We quantified light attenuation in three seagrass meadows in Barnegat Bay, New Jersey, a shallow...Ganju, Neil K.; Miselis, Jennifer L.; Aretxabaleta, Alfredo L.
Formation of fine sediment deposit from a flash flood river in the Mediterranean Sea
We identify the mechanisms controlling fine deposits on the inner-shelf in front of the Besòs River, in the northwestern Mediterranean Sea. This river is characterized by a flash flood regime discharging large amounts of water (more than 20 times the mean water discharge) and sediment in very short periods lasting from hours to few days. Numerical...Grifoll, Manel; Gracia, Vicenç; Aretxabaleta, Alfredo L.; Guillén, Jorge; Espino, Manuel; Warner, John C.
Autonomous bed-sediment imaging-systems for revealing temporal variability of grain size
We describe a remotely operated video microscope system, designed to provide high-resolution images of seabed sediments. Two versions were developed, which differ in how they raise the camera from the seabed. The first used hydraulics and the second used the energy associated with wave orbital motion. Images were analyzed using automated frequency...Buscombe, Daniel; Rubin, David M.; Lacy, Jessica R.; Storlazzi, Curt D.; Hatcher, Gerald; Chezar, Henry; Wyland, Robert; Sherwood, Christopher R.
Modeling future scenarios of light attenuation and potential seagrass success in a eutrophic estuary
Estuarine eutrophication has led to numerous ecological changes, including loss of seagrass beds. One potential cause of these losses is a reduction in light availability due to increased attenuation by phytoplankton. Future sea level rise will also tend to reduce light penetration and modify seagrass habitat. In the present study, we integrate a...del Barrio, Pilar; Ganju, Neil K.; Aretxabaleta, Alfredo L.; Hayn, Melanie; García, Andrés; Howarth, Robert W.
The vertical structure of the circulation and dynamics in Hudson Shelf Valley
Hudson Shelf Valley is a 20–30 m deep, 5–10 km wide v-shaped submarine valley that extends across the Middle Atlantic Bight continental shelf. The valley provides a conduit for cross-shelf exchange via along-valley currents of 0.5 m s−1 or more. Current profile, pressure, and density observations collected during the winter...Lentz, Steven J.; Butman, Bradford; Harris, Courtney K.
Investigating the importance of sediment resuspension in Alexandrium fundyense cyst population dynamics in the Gulf of Maine
Cysts of Alexandrium fundyense, a dinoflagellate that causes toxic algal blooms in the Gulf of Maine, spend the winter as dormant cells in the upper layer of bottom sediment or the bottom nepheloid layer and germinate in spring to initiate new blooms. Erosion measurements were made on sediment cores collected at seven stations in the Gulf of Maine...Butman, Bradford; Aretxabaleta, Alfredo L.; Dickhudt, Patrick J.; Dalyander, P. Soupy; Sherwood, Christopher R.; Anderson, Donald M.; Keafer, Bruce A.; Signell, Richard P.
Metabolism of a nitrogen-enriched coastal marine lagoon during the summertime
We measured metabolism rates in a shallow, nitrogen-enriched coastal marine ecosystem on Cape Cod (MA, USA) during seven summers using an open-water diel oxygen method. We compared two basins, one directly receiving most of the nitrogen (N) load (“Snug Harbor”) and another further removed from the N load and better flushed (“Outer Harbor”). Both...Howarth, Robert W.; Hayn, Melanie; Marino, Roxanne M.; Ganju, Neil; Foreman, Kenneth H.; McGlathery, Karen; Giblin, Anne E.; Berg, Peter; Walker, Jeffrey D.
Water level response in back-barrier bays unchanged following Hurricane Sandy
On 28–30 October 2012, Hurricane Sandy caused severe flooding along portions of the northeast coast of the United States and cut new inlets across barrier islands in New Jersey and New York. About 30% of the 20 highest daily maximum water levels observed between 2007 and 2013 in Barnegat and Great South Bay occurred in 5 months following Hurricane...Aretxabaleta, Alfredo L.; Butman, Bradford; Ganju, Neil K.
Model behavior and sensitivity in an application of the cohesive bed component of the community sediment transport modeling system for the York River estuary, VA, USA
The Community Sediment Transport Modeling System (CSTMS) cohesive bed sub-model that accounts for erosion, deposition, consolidation, and swelling was implemented in a three-dimensional domain to represent the York River estuary, Virginia. The objectives of this paper are to (1) describe the application of the three-dimensional hydrodynamic York...Fall, Kelsey A.; Harris, Courtney K.; Friedrichs, Carl T.; Rinehimer, J. Paul; Sherwood, Christopher R.
Exchange of nitrogen and phosphorus between a shallow lagoon and coastal waters
West Falmouth Harbor, a shallow lagoon on Cape Cod, has experienced a threefold increase in nitrogen load since the mid- to late 1990s due to input from a groundwater plume contaminated by a municipal wastewater treatment plant. We measured the exchange of nitrogen and phosphorus between the harbor and the coastal waters of Buzzards Bay over...Hayn, Melanie; Howarth, Robert W.; Ganju, Neil K.; Berg, Peter; Foreman, Kenneth H.; Giblin, Anne E.; McGlathery, Karen
Near-bottom circulation and dispersion of sediment containing Alexandrium fundyense cysts in the Gulf of Maine during 2010-2011
The life cycle of Alexandrium fundyense in the Gulf of Maine includes a dormant cyst stage that spends the winter predominantly in the bottom sediment. Wave-current bottom stress caused by storms and tides induces resuspension of cyst-containing sediment during winter and spring. Resuspended sediment could be transported by water flow to different...Aretxabaleta, Alfredo L.; Butman, Bradford; Signell, Richard P.; Dalyander, P. Soupy; Sherwood, Christopher R.; Sheremet, Vitalii A.; McGillicuddy, Dennis J.
Experiment descriptions, site locations and EPIC format data products are available at U.S. Geological Survey Oceanographic Time-Series Data Collection
Date published: April 4, 2018
Oceanographic time-series measurements made by the U.S. Geological Survey between 1975 and the present as part of research programs. The data were collected to address specific research questions and were primarily collected over durations less than a year, using stationary platforms, with sensors near the sea floor. These data have been used to study of ocean dynamics and to validate ocean...
Date published: July 25, 2018
To better identify the significant processes affecting our coastlines and how those processes create coastal change we have developed a Coupled Ocean – Atmosphere – Wave – Sediment Transport (COAWST) Modeling System, which is integrated by the Model Coupling Toolkit to exchange data fields between the ocean model ROMS, the atmosphere model WRF, the wave model SWAN, and the sediment...
Below are multimedia items associated with this project.
Photo of sand on the bottom of the Connecticut River taken by the flying eyeball in Autumn 2013. The flying eyeball and its cousin, the poking eyeball, are prototype underwater camera systems developed by U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) scientists
Map of Barnegat Bay showing modeled residual circulation patterns in that partially explain the long residence time and poorer water quality in the northern portion of the Bay.
The jetyak at Pier 6 on the East River, New York. Water-jet drive (black) is visible on the stern, at bottom right. Red pole near bow supports a radio antenna; mounted silver brackets support instruments for measuring depth (Hummingbird sidescan sonar, an inexpensive commercial unit marketed to recreational fishermen) and currents (Teledyne/RDI acoustic Doppler current profiler).
Model results from steady, uniform flow with floc dynamics. Left panels: time series of vertical profiles of (a) total suspended-sediment mass concentration, (b) mass-concentration-weighted average particle diameter, and (c) mass-concentration-weighted average settling velocity. Middle panels: Final profiles of (d) total concentration, (e) average diameter, and (f) average settling velocity. Right panel: (g) final vertical concentration profiles of each floc class (colors) and total concentration (black). Concentrations for the 20- and 27-µm diameter classes less than 10-6 and do not appear on the plot.
Illustration of the NIMBBLE (New instrument for making bottom boundary layer evaluations). The NIMBBLE is a low-profile platform with two acoustic Doppler velocimeters and an upward-looking acoustic Doppler profilers.
Map of daily-averaged ocean surface current data integrated from multiple IOOS Partner forecast models
Relative seagrass biomass in West Falmouth Harbor, MA, under current and potential future nitrogen loading scenarios. Seagrass biomass increases in western (seaward) portions of the harbor while eastern (landward) areas see new colonization by seagrass.
Barnegat Bay residence times in days for (a) scenario T, only tidal forcing; (b) scenario TB, combined offshore hydrodynamic forcing; (c) scenario TBR, streamflow with combined hydrodynamic forcing; and (d) scenario TBRM, full suite with meteorological forcing
Cumulative distribution of wave-current combined bottom stress (blue dots) estimated from acoustic Doppler current-meter measurements at the wreck site, plotted in log-probability coordinates. The dashed red line represents a Gaussian distribution. The inset table lists the (approximate) frequency of exceedence (percent with smaller diameters) for grain diameters (mm) and associated critical shear stresses (τcrit). The data indicate that bottom stresses are below the critical shear stress (τcrit) for mobilizing carbonate fine sands with diameters of 0.15 mm about 84% of the time, and are below the critical shear stress for mobilizing the median grain size (1-mm granules) 99.5% of the time. No stresses were calculated that were capable of moving the coarsest 35% of bottom sediment.
NPS archaeologists survey the wreck of the HMS Fowey.
University of Maine Ocean Observing System surface buoy. Suspended beneath the buoy is a suite of oceanographic sensors. Data are transmitted to the surface buoy through the mooring cable, transmitted to shore, and decoded and displayed on the NERACOOS website every hour. Click here for real-time observations.
Illustrations of conceptual model for four wetland complexes. All but the Blackwater complex have a diverse portfolio of external sediment sources, mobilization mechanisms, and advection mechanisms.