Coastal Observing Systems

Advancing the practice of coastal hazard mitigation, coastal protection and coastal restoration requires an improved understanding of complex shoreline processes through sophisticated coastal monitoring.

The Coastal Monitoring Network, which presently consists of three stations in New Jersey (Avalon, Atlantic City and Long Beach Island). The meteorological and oceanographic data from these stations are archived and available to any interested party via web-based search engine. There are several data visualization tools to analyze the data and evaluate the impact of storms, hurricanes and other natural hazards.

The Coastal Monitoring Network also supports continuously updated web cam images of the beach and surf zone, a New Jersey coastal map with current weather conditions, and other useful information to study and analyze coastal processes.

Stevens Institute of Technology established the New Jersey Coastal Monitoring Network (CMN) in 1998. This system provides real-time observations and archived records of shallow water (5m) wave characteristics, water temperature, water level and meteorological conditions (wind speed and direction, temperature, barometric pressure), as well as digital images of the beach and nearshore ocean, at three locations that span the State's ocean shoreline. The system is designed to provide real-time information to local, State, and Federal emergency management personnel, and long-term records of wave, weather conditions and shoreline response for use by the coastal scientific community.

The challenges faced by the coastal engineering community assume a special urgency, considering 75 percent of the nation's population lives within 100 miles of the coastline. Issues such as shoreline preservation and the mitigation of near-shore pollution demand basic and applied research as well as professional education.

The Davidson Laboratory brings its international reputation in hydrodynamics and extensive facilities in marine craft design, development and testing to both long-term and short-term projects in coastal engineering.

Current research thrusts include:

  • Physical and computer modeling of artificial reefs to be used for shore protection and fish habitats.
  • Monitoring of artificial reefs in the field using high resolution hydrologic surveys.
  • Laboratory investigation of the effect of surface waves and turbulence on the dispersion of oil spills.

The Davidson Laboratory also operates the Coastal Protection Technical Assistance Service (CPTAS), which informs and counsels New Jersey citizens and government officials regarding advances in coastal protection. CPTAS on the web offers an on-line data archive and an index of useful coastal engineering links