Stevens has an eye on the science of Hurricane Irene

Aug 25, 2011

While residents along the New Jersey and New York coasts rush to the store for batteries and bottled water, scientists at Stevens Institute of Technology are heading to the laboratory to help predict the impact of Hurricane Irene.

At the Stevens Center for Maritime Systems (CMS), ocean researchers manage a large network of submerged sensors throughout the New York Harbor region, from the South Jersey shore to the eastern end of Long Island and north up the Hudson River. This Urban Ocean Observatory combines real-time and historic data with advanced understanding of ocean physics to make predictions about how tides and other cyclical ocean behaviors influence the potential impact of storms.

When it comes to calculating the effects of a coming , wind speed, size, and location of the storm are only part of the equation.

"We're also looking at lunar activity and erosion as important elements when factoring what we can expect from a storm like Irene," says Dr. Alan Blumberg, Director of CMS.

Lunar activity is expected to play a large role in influencing the storm's impact on the coast. Irene will arrive at both perigee, when the Moon's brings it closest to the Earth, and the new moon, when the Moon and sun are aligned on the same side of our planet. Both the Moon's position and phase will intensify on the tides, causing greater tidal ranges.

Currently, Irene is modeled to travel up the New Jersey coast during during the incoming tide on Sunday. The time of passage is expected to generate significant storm surge impacts along the northern New Jersey Coast before the hurricane makes landfall in western Long Island that evening. Waves with heights over 20 feet are expected on the shelf, generating large breaks on shore and significant . For regional beaches, this is a vastly different outlook compared to last year's , which stayed further out in the Atlantic and produced long, low waves that probably reversed erosion by pushing sand onto the shore.

On Wednesday, August 24, CMS began releasing short statements on Hurricane Irene that describes these latent conditions that can alter the effect of the storm on the region's busy and heavily populated coast.

Residents in New York and New Jersey can monitor their waterways during the storm and year-round by visiting the CMS New York Harbor Observing and Prediction System online, but Dr. Blumberg also recommends that anyone in the path of Hurricane Irene consult the National Hurricane Center for the latest information: http://www.nhc.noaa.gov/

Explore further: Fighting the global water scarcity issue

Provided by Stevens Institute of Technology

not rated yet
add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

East Coast most likely hurricane target

May 16, 2006

Private forecasts say the East Coast is the most likely target of five to nine hurricanes expected to hit the United States this season, reports said.

Recommended for you

Fighting the global water scarcity issue

43 minutes ago

According to the World Water Management Institute, over one-third of the human population is affected by water scarcity. If nothing is done to prevent it, an estimated 1.8 billion people will be living in ...

First Swedish hard-rock diamonds discovered

53 minutes ago

An Uppsala-led research group has presented the first verified discovery of diamonds in Swedish bedrock. The diamonds are small, but provide important clues to the geological evolution of rocks.

Harnessing crowds to analyze clouds

1 hour ago

(Phys.org) —When it comes to analyzing hurricanes and other tropical cyclones, lack of data isn't the problem. Scientists have 30 years' worth of satellite images of these massive storms. However, what ...

User comments : 0

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.