Nearshore Wave and Current Measurements/Predictions on the Texas Coast

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Wednesday, 7 January 2015: 11:15 AM
130 (Phoenix Convention Center - West and North Buildings)
Philipe Tissot, Texas A&M University, Corpus Christi, TX; and L. Dell, J. Rizzo, and D. Williams
Manuscript (892.7 kB)

Two current profilers and wave sensors were installed during spring 2014 taking advantage of the infrastructure of Bob Hall Pier, Corpus Christi, Texas. The sensors provide near real-time measurements of nearshore conditions including significant wave height, typical wave period, average along and cross-shore currents and current profiles. The instruments are installed and maintained to National Ocean Service standards and are gathering a rare long-term data set of nearshore conditions along the Texas coast. One of the sensors provides current profiles up to 120 m offshore of the end of the pier in bins of 11 m while the other sensor monitors currents in the nearshore in narrower bins with the potential for identification of rip currents. The instruments are installed near two inlets and associated sensitive avian and aquatic habitat. In addition this monitoring station provides invaluable near real-time information to facilitate the prediction of oil movement and the deployment of protection measures in case of oil spill. The measurements will also help to better understand and model sediment transport along the coast and more specifically for the periodic renourishment and maintenance of the nearby popular beaches located along Mustang and North Padre Island. Other applications include providing information appropriate for search and rescue situations, reporting surf conditions and alerting beach-goers to conditions favorable to the onset of rip currents.

The installation and performance of the sensors will be described. Initial measurements will be presented for various conditions such as seasonal frontal passages and strong southerly wind events which typify the climate along the south Texas coast. The current profiler is collocated with a tide gauge and atmospheric sensors. The new observations will be correlated with these measurements as well as with data from further offshore sensors collected by the National Data Buoy Center (NDBC) and the Texas Automated Buoys System (TABS). Finally measurements will be compared with predictions from models such as the National Weather Service experimental Nearshore Wave Prediction System (NWPS).