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Observations of ocean circulation and sediment transport experiment offshore of Fire Island, NY

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6 Author(s)
Martini, M. ; Woods Hole Coastal & Marine Sci. Center, U.S. Geol. Survey, Woods Hole, MA, USA ; Warner, J.C. ; List, J. ; Armstrong, B.
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Researchers from the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) Woods Hole Coastal and Marine Science Center (WHCMSC), in collaboration with Coastal Carolina University (CCU) and University of South Carolina (USC), conducted a scientific field study to investigate the ocean circulation and sediment transport processes offshore of Fire Island, NY. Although the physical processes along the entire linear extent of Fire Island (~50 km) are of interest to the project, one particular region of focus is at the western end of the island where offshore sand ridges out to depths of 20 m extend across the inner shelf and connect to the near-shore bar system. The primary objective was to measure the physical processes around the sand ridges, including circulation patterns, wave parameters, bottom stress, and suspended sediment. Transects of instrumentation were positioned along and across the crests and troughs of the ridge field. A site at the top of a ridge and a site at the bottom of an adjacent trough were each populated with two tripods designed to provide high-resolution measurements near the sea-bed to record sediment re-suspension events. Measurements at these two sites include near bottom velocity profiles, acoustic Doppler velocimeters, pressure, optical transmission and backscatter at high sampling rates. Other measurements include upward looking velocity profiles, temperature, salinity, sonar images and profiles, and sediment size classes. Five smaller tripods were deployed to complete lines alongshore and across shore over a 5 km area to provide a regional picture. These tripods recorded upward looking velocity profiles and near bottom temperature, pressure and salinity. Surface buoys marked the position of the tripods and collected surface measurements at six of the sites. One buoy gathered meteorological measurements. The sites were occupied from January to April, 2012. This deployment was similar to previous efforts off Cape Hatteras, NC, in 2009, and is part of an ongoing - ffort to understand regional patterns in circulation and sediment transport and the interaction of inner shelf and near shore processes. New instrumentation for the USGS was introduced, including a variety of current and wave measurement equipment, acquisition and telemetry in near-realtime of the weather data, time series sonar imaging equipment, and anti-fouling wipers. Preliminary results suggest a complex and subtle relationship between wind and across shore current velocity in this region, and a more straightforward relationship between winds and alongshore currents. This paper also includes a preliminary report on the effectiveness of new measurement techniques used during this experiment.

Published in:

Oceans, 2012

Date of Conference:

14-19 Oct. 2012