New model can track brown water movement from Ala Wai Canal after rains

Jun 16, 2014
New model can track brown water movement from Ala Wai Canal after rains
PacIOOS Ala Wai Turbidity Plume Example

Have you ever wondered if you should go into the water after heavy rains? Or questioned where that brown water goes after it leaves the Ala Wai Canal? Oceanographers working with the Pacific Islands Ocean Observing System (PacIOOS) within the UH Mānoa School of Ocean and Earth Sciences and Technology (SOEST) have focused their work to help address these questions, and they are excited to share the results of their labor: the PacIOOS Ala Wai Turbidity Plume Model.

Turbidity is a measure of clarity. Tiny solids suspended in the water column can increase turbidity levels. After a significant storm event, "brown water" runoff from the land can raise turbidity levels in coastal waters. "Brown water" or can contain pollutants and contaminants, including sewage, harmful micro-organisms and chemicals from residential, commercial and recreational sources.

Turbidity matters, and knowing where the "brown water" is headed, can help ocean users make more informed decisions. This is the aim of the new PacIOOS model. Available at www.pacioos.org under Water Quality, the PacIOOS Ala Wai Turbidity Plume Model makes data relevant and available to the general public in the form of a map animation. Using near real-time data of river runoff and turbidity for the Ala Wai Canal in a Regional Ocean Modeling System (ROMS) forecast, the map shows the possible path of "brown water" events leaving the Ala Wai Canal.

New model can track brown water movement from Ala Wai Canal after rains
Turbidity is a measure of water clarity.

"The PacIOOS Ala Wai Turbidity Plume Model can help those who recreate in the Ala Moana and Waikīkī areas make more informed decisions about when and where they choose to enter the water, especially after significant rainfall," Oceanography Professor Margaret McManus explains. "But please remember, the plume position and turbidity values are predictions and—like a weather forecast—contain uncertainties."

Explore further: New technique allows frequent water quality monitoring for suite of pollutants

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Rusty stirs up double trouble surprise

Mar 06, 2013

(Phys.org) —As Tropical Cyclone Rusty crossed the Pilbara coast last week, the ocean's turbidity levels exceeded the maximum range of scientists' instruments.

NASA satellites eye coastal water quality

Aug 29, 2007

Using data from instruments aboard NASA satellites, Zhiqiang Chen and colleagues at the University of South Florida in St. Petersburg, found that they can monitor water quality almost daily, rather than monthly. Such information ...

Recommended for you

Rising anger as Nicaragua canal to break ground

5 hours ago

As a conscripted soldier during the Contra War of the 1980s, Esteban Ruiz used to flee from battles because he didn't want to have to kill anyone. But now, as the 47-year-old farmer prepares to fight for ...

Hopes, fears, doubts surround Cuba's oil future

Dec 20, 2014

One of the most prolific oil and gas basins on the planet sits just off Cuba's northwest coast, and the thaw in relations with the United States is giving rise to hopes that Cuba can now get in on the action.

New challenges for ocean acidification research

Dec 19, 2014

Over the past decade, ocean acidification has received growing recognition not only in the scientific area. Decision-makers, stakeholders, and the general public are becoming increasingly aware of "the other carbon dioxide ...

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.