USGS - science for a changing world

Woods Hole Coastal and Marine Science Center


Woods Hole Coastal and Marine Science Center Home > Coastal Change Processes > Study Sites > Fire Island > Oceanographic Observations

Coastal Change Processes

Fire Island, New York Study Site

Oceanographic Observations

map showing deployment sites

Map showing deployment sites of oceanographic deployment from February-April 2012. Sites were located to measure flows and sediment fluxes on ridge crests and in the troughs.

map showing deployment sites

Map showing deployment sites of oceanographic deployment from February-April 2014. Sites were located to measure variations of wave heights along the coast and cross-shore sediment fluxes.

We have conducted two field deployments offshore of Fire Island to increase our understanding of the oceanographic and sediment transport processes and identify connections to the underlying geologic framework in the region. The first deployment was from February 21-April 18, 2012 to deploy equipment at seven sites. The main intent was to measure oceanographic conditions and sediment transport patterns to identify processes that formed and maintain the shore-face connected ridges. The equipment sites were chosen to locate sensors along ridge crests and in the troughs, with two main sites, one and two, (locations indicated in top right study area figure) to measure bottom stress, suspended-sediment concentrations, sea floor ripples, currents, waves, salinity, and temperature. Ancillary sites will provide data to determine wave refraction and ocean current variations in the ridge field. The experiment is described in Martini and others (2012).

Preliminary analysis of the data identifies that the along shelf flows have a strong tidal component and an equally significant storm driven component. The along-shelf tidally-averaged flows are highly correlated with along shelf winds. In the cross shelf direction the flows are more complex, but in general the surface currents appear to have a more off-shore directed component and the bottom currents appear to have a more onshore component. Preliminary analysis of the suspended sediment profiles identify that there were only a few storm events during the deployment that resuspened sediment at the depths of the instruments. These events are being correlated with storm types, and during the deployment there were several strong cold fronts that tended to provide a net offshore directed flux of sediment, and a low pressure type system that produced a net onshore flux. These different types of storms may help further understand the net sediment convergence processes that maintain the shore face connected ridge system.

The second deployment was from February - April 2014, with equipment deployed at 9 locations (see lower right study area figure). The main intent for this deployment was to measure the alongshore distribution of waves and the cross-shore variability of sediment fluxes. This information will be used to assess the alongshore variability in coastal response to storms. It is anticipated the large-scale offshore shore face connected ridge features modify the approaching waves and can alter the alongshore variability of sediment movement. Details are also described in http://soundwaves.usgs.gov/2014/02/spotlight3.html.

As part of this second experiment, we also deployed a specialized buoy that measures surface waves which telemeters the data back to the Coastal Data Information Program (CDIP) where it is available on-line (http://cdip.ucsd.edu/) station #207.  It is anticipated that local mariners, other Federal Agencies, and recreational users will utilize the data in real-time. This buoy is expected to remain on site for several years.

Related Publications

Armstrong, B.N., Warner, J.C., List, J.H., Martini, M.A., Montgomery, E.T., Traykovski, Peter, and Voulgaris, George, 2015, Coastal Change Processes Project data report for oceanographic observations near Fire Island, New York, February through May 2014: U.S. Geological Survey Open-File Report 2015–1033, http://dx.doi.org/10.3133/ofr20151033.

Armstrong, B.N., Warner, J.C., List, J.H., Martini, M.A., Montgomery, E.T., Voulgaris, George, and Traykovski, P.A., 2014, Coastal Change Processes Project data report for observations near Fire Island, New York, January to April 2012: U.S. Geological Survey Open-File Report 2014–1159, http://dx.doi.org/10.3133/ofr20141159.

Warner, J.C., List, J., Schwab, B. Voulgaris, G., Armstrong, B.A., and Marshall, N. (2014). Inner-shelf circulation and sediment dynamics on a series of shore-face connected ridges offshore of Fire Island, NY. Ocean Dynamics, 64, 1767–1781.


Accessibility FOIA Privacy Policies and Notices

Take Pride in America logo USA.gov logo U.S. Department of the Interior | U.S. Geological Survey
URL: http://woodshole.er.usgs.gov/project-pages/coastal_change/index.html
Page Contact Information: Feedback
Page Last Modified: September 4, 2013 @ 2:50 AM (ATT)