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USGS - science for a changing world

Fluxes to estuarine and coastal environments



ADCP transects at Mashapaquit Creek, West Falmouth Harbor, Massachusetts ADCP data from Mashapaquit Creek, West Falmouth Harbor, Massachusetts
Air-sea interaction tower of Martha's Vineyard Coastal Observatory Seismic imaging of seabed near Martha's Vineyard Coastal Observatory
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This website describes several interdisciplinary projects that aim to quantify and understand flux mechanisms through observations and numerical modeling. Both the spatial and temporal timescales of these mechanisms are important, and therefore require modern instrumentation and state-of-the-art hydrodynamic models. These projects are led from the U.S. Geological Survey's Woods Hole Coastal and Marine Science Center, but are collaborative projects that include participation from other U.S. Geological Survey offices, and other federal and state agencies. These collaborators are identified at individual project pages.

Estimating fluxes of water, salt, sediment, and other consituents between watersheds, tidal wetlands, estuaries, and coasts is critical for evaluating the socioeconomic and ecological function of those regions. Technological advances have made it possible to autonomously measure flux parameters such as water velocity, salinity, temperature, nutrient concentrations, and suspended-sediment concentrations over timescales of weeks to months. These measurements are necessary to evaluate three-dimensional numerical models that can represent the spatial and temporal complexity of these parameters. Once the models adequately represent relevant aspects of the physical system, they can be used to evaluate possible future scenarios including sea-level rise, streamflow changes, land-use modifications, and geomorphic evolution.

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Page last modified: 12/20/2011