AUSTIN, Texas As coastal communities continue to rebuild in the wake of Hurricane Sandy, scientists at this week's annual meeting of the American Geophysical Union offer some encouraging news: the storm did not seriously damage the offshore barrier system that controls erosion on Long Island. Long-term concerns remain about the effects on the region of sea-level rise, pollutants churned up by the storm within back-barrier estuaries, and the damage closer to shore, but in the near-term, Long Island residents can rebuild knowing that Hurricane Sandy did not significantly alter the offshore barrier systems that control coastal erosion on the island.
The findings are based on pre-storm survey data compared to post-storm data acquired through a collaborative rapid response science mission to the south shore of Long Island led by scientists at The University of Texas at Austin's Institute for Geophysics, Adelphi University, Stony Brook University and other institutions in the New York metro area. The purpose of the mission, conducted last January, was to assess the post-Sandy health of the offshore barrier system that protects the New York Harbor and southwestern Long Island region against damage from future storms.
The team conducted marine geophysical surveys of the seafloor and shallow subsurface to map the sedimentary impact of the hurricane on the beach/barrier systems of selected bay, inlet and nearshore areas of portions of the south shore of Long Island.
Using a CHIRP (compressed high-intensity radar pulse) sonar system and an even higher frequency seafloor mapping system supplied by Stony Brook University, the scientists used two research vessels to profile the seafloor and upper sediment layers of the ocean bottom. They surveyed three representative segments of the shoreface that protects Long Island, each segment about 15 meters deep, one mile offshore and roughly six square miles in size.
The storm, they found, did not
|Contact: J.B. Bird|
University of Texas at Austin