The UNC Coastal Studies Institute, in collaboration with the United States Army Corps of Engineers (USACE), UNC Chapel Hill, and Kill Devil Hills Ocean Rescue, recently deployed two ocean observing instruments approximately one half mile offshore in Kill Devil Hills and Nags Head, North Carolina. These Acoustic Doppler Current Profiler (ADCP) instruments will measure and record ocean current speed and direction from the sea floor to the surface as well as wave height, speed, and direction. The goals of this collaborative project are to explore the impacts of near-shore currents and waves on beach morphology and to pinpoint specific local conditions that results in rip current formation.
The ADCP instruments were deployed in locations that differ in surrounding depths. Divers from the UNC Coastal Studies Institute secured the instruments to the ocean floor using an extensive pump system that allows the divers to drive the twelve foot long aluminum pipes into the sea floor.
PhD researcher Greg Dusek of UNC Chapel Hill will be conducting beach profiles every two weeks to map changes in shoreline and KDH Ocean Rescue is documenting beach morphology and rip current observations. That data will be compared to data provided by the ADCP instruments to target specific local conditions that result in rip current formation. The results of this study can be used to improve the safety of our beaches by providing life saving agencies with a better understanding of beach hazards and rip current formation.
To learn more about the nearshore processes and beach hazard study, click here.
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