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Woods Hole Coastal and Marine Science Center > Coastal Model Applications and Field Measurements > Research Activities > Long-term observations of sediment resuspension in the Gulf of Maine

Coastal Model Applications and Field Measurements

Long-term observations of sediment resuspension in the Gulf of Maine

Long-term observations of sediment resuspension are being made along the Maine coast at about the 100 m isobath. The observations will document the frequency and intensity of sediment resuspension, especially by northeast storms in winter and spring. These observations will be used to explore the importance of cyst resuspension in the dynamics of harmful algal blooms in the Gulf of Maine. They will also be used to assess and improve the skill of the Coupled Ocean Atmosphere Wave and Sediment Transport (COAWST) model in predicting bottom stress and resuspension of fine-grained cohesive sediments. The suspended sediment concentration is a regional measure of model skill, reflecting both the bottom stress caused by waves and currents, and the sediment erodibility.  The long-term goal is to obtain at least three years of observations to document a range of storm and seasonal conditions.

Instruments that measure temperature, conductivity (salinity), and light transmission (a proxy for the concentration of suspended sediment) are deployed about 12 m above the sea floor on oceanographic moorings A, B, E, and I in the University of Maine Ocean Observing System (UMOOS; Neal Pettigrew, PI), part of the Northeast Regional Association of Coastal and Ocean Observing Systems (NERACOOS) . The data are telemetered to shore and available in real time at the UMOOS data portal (http://gyre.umeoce.maine.edu/buoyhome.php), at the NERACOOS data portal (http://www.neracoos.org/realtime_map), and this website. We plan to refurbish the instruments during the annual UMOOS service cruises.

Map of the Gulf of Maine showing stations sampled for erosion analysis

Map of the Gulf of Maine showing locations of University of Maine Ocean Observing System sites A, B, E, and I where near-bottom observations of light transmission are being made.

Addition of USGS sensors to the UMOOS moorings will provide new long-term real-time near-bottom geologic and oceanographic observations. The UMOOS moorings provide near surface and observations throughout the water column which will be helpful in interpretation of the near-bottom observations. Deployment of these sensors on existing UMOOS infrastructure greatly facilitates logistics and would have not been possible by USGS alone.

As of December 2014, data from Site A is available in real time and instruments at Sites B and E are recording internally. Real-time data from Sites A, B, E, and I are anticipated in June 2015 following servicing by University of Maine.

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.

 

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