NOAA releases annual High Tide Flooding Report
Coastal communities across the U.S. continued to see record-setting high-tide flooding in 2019, forcing their residents and visitors to deal with flooded shorelines, streets, and basements — a trend that is expected to continue into 2021. In July, NOAA released its 6th State of High Tide Flooding and Annual Outlook report
that documents changes in high-tide flooding patterns from the previous year at 98 NOAA tide gauges along the U.S. coast. The report provides a flooding outlook for these locations for the coming year as well as projections for the next several decades. High tide flooding
, often referred to as “nuisance” or “sunny day” flooding, is increasingly common due to years of relative sea level increases. It occurs when tides reach anywhere from 1.75 to 2 feet above the daily average high tide and start spilling onto streets or bubbling up from storm drains. Damaging floods, that decades ago happened only during a storm, now happen more regularly, such as during a full-moon tide or with a change in prevailing winds or currents. The report found that high tide flooding is now accelerating at 75% of locations along the East and Gulf Coasts. Nineteen locations in 2019, primarily in these regions, broke or tied their flood records. By 2030, high tide flooding is likely to occur in the range of 7-15 days and by 2050, between 25-75 days. These long-term outlooks are based on the range of relative sea level rise ‘more likely’ to occur by 2030 and 2050 using projections of the Fourth National Climate Assessment
High-definition charts advance precision marine navigation
For large vessels entering port where there is next to zero margin for error, pilots and shipmasters are looking for the highest resolution data available to help them navigate these tight spaces safely and efficiently. NOAA recently constructed and released 16 high-definition (HD), band 6 (or berthing scale) electronic navigational charts for Los Angeles/Long Beach Harbor, providing mariners with the best charts available to do their job. These HD charts contain all features necessary for navigation, but also have bathymetry with one-meter curve intervals. They comply with the International Hydrographic Organization’s S-57 standard and offer a new opportunity to deliver chart products that fully take advantage of high-resolution hydrographic surveys. These products represent an innovation in the delivery of bathymetric data within our navigation products.
Did you know?
NOAA released an improved user interface for the NOAA Custom Chart (NCC) prototype
web application. In this refreshed version, NCC settings are simplified and more logically organized, appropriate default values for depth contour labels, depth shades, and compass roses are set, and the NOAA color palette from traditional NOAA paper charts is implemented. Over the coming months, Coast Survey will improve the prototype further by incorporating traditional NOAA paper chart symbology for buoys, beacons, and lights, adding survey quality diagrams, improving chart note management and presentation, and also improving compass rose placement.
New PORTS® current meter operational on the Cape Cod Canal
A new current meter, an enhancement to the Cape Cod Physical Oceanographic Real-Time System (PORTS®)
, went operational this month. This sensor is installed at the west end of the Cape Cod Canal, where it meets Buzzards Bay. Swift currents are part of the canal’s dynamic and hydraulic nature and often exceed five knots. In addition to commercial fishing and regular tug and barge traffic, larger vessels such as roll on/roll off vehicle carriers, oil tankers, and even the occasional cruise ship transit the canal. The newly available real time observations will promote enhanced safety to local mariners. Cape Cod PORTS is a partnership among NOAA’s Center for Operational Oceanographic Products and Services, NERACOOS
and Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection (MassDEP). PORTS
is a successful public-private partnership that provides an integrated system of sensors concentrated in seaports, which supplies commercial vessel operators with reliable real-time information about environmental conditions.
NOAA science aids construction of elevated highway to combat sea level rise in Louisiana
The Louisiana Department of Transportation and Development was recently awarded a $135 million federal grant, as a part of the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Infrastructure for Rebuilding America program, for construction of an 8.3-mile elevated LA Highway 1 between Leeville and Golden Meadow in Lafourche Parish. This stretch of highway is increasingly closed due to flooding. NOAA provided flooding projections that predict the current highway, without modification, will be underwater for 22 days out of the year by 2030 and 201 days by 2047. As recently as June 7, the highway was closed for almost an entire day due to Tropical Storm Cristobal. This road serves as the sole evacuation route for the port and communities in Grand Isle and lower Lafourche Parish. It also provides access to coastal marshes and wetlands undergoing vital restoration and protection efforts and is the only access to Port Fourchon and the Louisiana Offshore Oil Port.
United States Coast Pilot® covering the Pacific now in two volumes
The previous edition of United States Coast Pilot® 7 covered an enormous area, from the southern end of California, northward along the entire Pacific Coast to the border with Canada near Vancouver, British Columbia. It also included descriptions of the coastlines of all major Hawaiian Islands and the remote Pacific Islands. Out of necessity, the information in volume 7 is now divided into two books. Coast Pilot 7 is now titled Pacific Coast, California and a new volume is titled Coast Pilot 10 Pacific Coast: Oregon, Washington, Hawaii and Pacific Islands. This new volume is the first in over 60 years.
Mobile Bay PORTS gets a new current meter
A new side-looking current meter was recently installed on the Cochrane Bridge in Mobile, Alabama. This current meter is part of the Mobile Bay PORTS®
. This station was moved from its original location to a site that would provide data more representative of conditions in the adjacent turning basin, critical for cargo ships entering the seaport. This was a challenging installation that required working in a remote location from a barge, working from heights, using crane operations, and commercial diving.
NOAA seeks industry feedback as it begins testing the Precision Navigation Data Dissemination prototype
NOAA’s Precision Navigation program is building a prototype data gateway for users to discover, visualize, and disseminate NOAA marine navigation products and services. The backbone of this dissemination system is to provide for machine-to-machine dissemination that allows the mariners’ existing navigation software to automatically discover if NOAA has made new data available and ingest it directly into the system. NOAA’s integrated marine navigation services through this site will help ship operators optimize their routes, save fuel, reduce lightering, and reduce port wait times based on environmental conditions.
NOAA will be hosting a virtual Precision Marine Navigation workshop September 30 – October 1, 2020. Learn about the program’s progress over the past year, see a demonstration of the new prototype data dissemination system, and provide your feedback. The agenda and registration information will be posted
in the coming weeks.
NOAA takes first steps to relocate Wisconsin NWLON station
NOAA recently took the first steps to relocate the National Water Level Observation Network
(NWLON) station in Green Bay, Wisconsin. The new site will be located at the South Bay Marina, where an underwater heated circulation pump system will keep the tide station free of ice in the winter months, an improvement over the old location. The first step in the relocation process is to install a temporary station in the new location to collect as much data overlap with the old location as possible. The NWLON is a network of more than 200 water level stations in the U.S and is the source for accurate real-time and historical water levels for governments, the commercial navigation sector, and recreational users.