83rd Annual

Tuesday, 11 February 2003
Marine and Atmosphere Observations from the Bridgeport - Port Jefferson Ferry: A Community Resource for Conducting Long Island Sound Research
Duane E Waliser, SUNY, Stony Brook, NY; and R. E. Wilson, T. Wilson, T. Baggett, J. Giannotti, D. Codiga, and M. Reynolds
A recent agreement between scientists at the Marine Sciences Research Center and the Port Jefferson - Bridgeport Ferry Company along with a research grant from New York Sea Grant has resulted in the opportunity to collect measurements of several significant environmental parameters during the ferry's routine crossing of the Long Island Sound. This tremendous opportunity provides the means to uniquely address a number of regional scientific, environmental and societal issues. These involve:

* the understanding of circulation and stratification of the Long Island Sound and their relationship to water quality and the development of hypoxia (i.e. low oxygen) in the Sound,

* the development of a historical record of climate forcing (e.g., global warming) for the Long Island Sound spanning nearly 100 years,

* the role each of the above may have played in the periodic poor-yield Lobster years, of which 1999 was catastrophic to the local fishing community.

* determining the relative contributions to circulation and stratification variability in the Sound from synoptic weather events and low-frequency climate variability,

Moreover, it provides the project's partners the needed observational platform to:

* develop and validate a state-of-the-art coastal modeling and observation system for the Long Island Sound,

* contribute sorely needed observational resources to the National Weather Service which has no means to obtain over-water observations of the Long Island Sound.

The agreement and funding also provide for the installation of an educational system to be deployed on the ferry which will display and describe the data being collected to the passengers (~250,000/year) and educate the audience on the pertinent environmental issues being addressed by the project. In addition, there will be a web site developed to provide the data, both the real-time and archived data, to the community so that other researchers and educators can take advantage of this tremendous opportunity. This presentation will describe the above observing system and the progress of the above research.

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