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Coastal Ocean Processes – ARCHIVED FY06-08
Omnibus FY06-08 Research Projects

Title: Numerical Study of the Physical Conditions that Lead to Hypoxia Events in Long Bay, SC

Principal Investigators:  George Voulgaris (University of South Carolina) and Rosario Sanay (University of South Carolina)

Project number: R/CP-12

Description: This study will identify the physical scenarios under which hypoxia events in Long Bay (northern coast ocean of South Carolina) may occur, and to provide insights into threshold conditions to predict the occurrence of these events.  This information has been identified as critically important by the state’s coastal zone management program, the S.C. DHEC-Office of Ocean and Coastal Resources Management, which will be supporting in whole the funding for Year One of the project. 

The investigators will work closely with the investigators of project R/CP-13 since the two studies complement each other and will be conducted in the same geographical area, thereby providing a more complete picture of the hypoxia issue.  Specifically, the principal investigator will address the following objectives: (1) Determine the influence of the coastline configuration and bathymetric features on the location of upwelling recurrent centers; (2) Determine the role played by vertical stratification of the water column and the different forcing mechanisms (e.g., heat fluxes; wind stress) on the shoreward cold-water intrusions; (3) Characterize the contribution of Gulf Stream intrusions, estuarine runoff, river runoff, and stormwater discharge sources to stratification of nearshore waters under favorable upwelling conditions; and (4) Evaluate the relative importance of anthropogenic and oceanic sources of nutrients to hypoxia events.  A non-linear 3D numerical ocean model (ROMS) will be used to simulate the inner shelf wind-driven circulation under several parameters.  The model’s outputs will be compared to the major features found in the area provided by the CARO-COOPS and SEACOOS ocean observations mooring arrays, as to satellite imagery.

Program Title: Identification of Coastal Hypoxia Mechanisms in Inner Shelf Waters of Long Bay, South Carolina

Principal Investigator: Eric Koepfler (Coastal Carolina University)

Project number: R/CP-13

Investigators, in the first phase of this new project, will document the processes contributing to the development of hypoxia in nearshore waters, similar to the major hypoxia event that occurred in the Grand Strand of Long Bay (northern coastal ocean of South Carolina) area in 2004. The potential and relative roles of marine, terrestrial and atmospheric processes will be evaluated. The objectives of this effort will be to (1) Characterize the water quality and hydrography of Long Bay, (2) Characterize the water quality and hydrography of terrestrial sources of water, nutrients and organic matter, (3) Identify critical biotic processes responsible for oxygen consumption in Long Bay and (4) Attempt to define physical and biological thresholds that lead to the development of hypoxia. One major benefit of the work will be the generation of data that show that hypoxia is not restricted to estuarine settings or offshore upwelling. This type of hypoxia could occur along other beaches and increase in frequency and intensity, representing an emerging environmental problem for the region. The “Dataflow” technology, a relatively new approach, will be used to assess the health of the nearshore waters. According to the new, Phase II NPDES federal stormwater permitting rules, all of the communities in the Grand Strand area are designated MS-4, and as such will have to develop strategies for managing stormwater runoff and quality. Again, since this information has been identified as critically important by the state’s coastal zone management program, the S.C. DHEC-Office of Ocean and Coastal Resources Management will be supporting in whole the funding for Year One of the project. 

Project Title: Electrical Characterization Of Submarine Groundwater Seeps On The South Carolina Continental Shelf

Principal Investigator: Richard Viso (Coastal Carolina University)

Project number: R/CP-14

This research attempts to identify groundwater seep locations along the shelf waters off of South Carolina. The information will enable researchers to conduct fieldwork to quantify submarine groundwater discharge, and the contribution of that discharge to water quality issues.  Scientists and managers concerned with nutrient fluxes, pollutant transport, and water column stratification will benefit from knowing the location of these seeps. The investigators will focus their work in the Grand Strand area of South Carolina, and will address the following questions: (1) What controls the locations of seeps?; (2) Are paleochannels good hydraulic conduits or do they inhibit shore-parallel migration of pore fluids?; (3) Is there a relationship between reef-supporting hard grounds and seep locations?; (4) What are the basic water quality characteristics of the pore waters in inner shelf seeps?; and (5) Where are the best locations to install monitoring well/seepage meters? The answers to these questions are important because of the linkage between the region’s strong tourism-based economy and water quality issues that are of significant economic importance.


Last updated: 11/18/2008 8:27:18 AM
Coastal Ocean Processes – ARCHIVED FY06-08


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