SANDS - Sediment Analysis Network for Decision Support

TitleSANDS - Sediment Analysis Network for Decision Support
Publication TypeConference Paper
Year of Publication2009
AuthorsGraves, S, Hardin, D, Conover, H, Keiser, K, Ebersole, S
Conference NameAmerican Geophysical Union
Date Published12/2009
Conference LocationSan Fancisco, CA
Keywordswater quality
AbstractSince the year 2000, Eastern Louisiana, coastal Mississippi, Alabama, and the western Florida panhandle have been affected by 28 tropical storms, seven of which were hurricanes. These tropical cyclones have significantly altered normal coastal processes and characteristics in the Gulf region through sediment disturbance. Although tides, seasonality, and agricultural development influence suspended sediment and sediment deposition over periods of time, tropical storm activity has the capability of moving the largest sediment loads in the shortest periods of time for coastal areas. The importance of sediments upon water quality, coastal erosion, habitats and nutrients has made their study and monitoring vital to decision makers in the region. Currently agencies such as United States Army Corps of Engineers (USACE), NASA, and Geological Survey of Alabama (GSA) are employing a variety of in-situ and airborne based measurements to assess and monitor sediment loading and deposition. These methods provide highly accurate information but are limited in geographic range, are not continuous over a region and, in the case of airborne LIDAR are expensive and do not recur on a regular basis. Multi-temporal and multi-spectral satellite imagery that shows tropical-storm-induced suspended sediment and storm-surge sediment deposits can provide decision makers with immediate and long-term information about the impacts of tropical storms and hurricanes. It can also be valuable for those conducting research and for projects related to coastal issues such as recovery, planning, management, and mitigation. The recently awarded Sediment Analysis Network for Decision Support will generate decision support products using NASA satellite observations from MODIS, Landsat and SeaWiFS instruments to support resource management, planning, and decision making activities in the Gulf of Mexico. Specifically, SANDS will generate decision support products that address the impacts of tropical storms and hurricanes on sediment disturbance, suspension, transport, and deposition in the north central Gulf of Mexico. At least five end user organizations plus the UAHuntsville’s Information Technology and Systems Center and the Geological Survey of Alabama project team, will use the products to improve measurements of water quality (Dauphin Island Sea Lab); assess sedimentation during storm events and its impact on critical coastal habitats (Alabama Department of Conservation); assess sedimentation versus sea level rise in natural marshes (Department of the Interior); and improve understanding of the impact of sediment and sediment deposits on water quality, living resources, and habitats of the estuarine environment (Mobile Bay National Estuary Program); and assess storm surge effects on coastal ecosystems (NOAA Center for Coastal Ocean Research). The products will be managed and accessed through the SANDS Portal, an on-line data repository with a user interface customized to provide data and information for specific storm events. By making multi-spectral satellite products available for multiple common storm events, SANDS will provide end users the opportunity to better analyze, detect, and identify compositions and patterns of suspended sediment and sediment deposits.