As coastal physical oceanographers, we strive to understand the dynamics that link estuarine, nearshore, and inner-shelf systems. These regions are dynamically complex, and there are many open questions related to the processes that control circulation and transport within each subregion. Traditionally, each zone is studied independently because of observational and modeling challenges. However the connectivity of these subregions has important impacts on the coastal environment, and there is a pressing need to better understand how coastal subregions are linked and how these linkages may be influenced by a shifting climate and increased urban infrastructure, such as offshore wind farms.
Figure from Nittrouer and Wright (1994). Conceptual diagram illustrating the major physical processes responsible for across-shelf particulate transport.
Our research program seeks to:
- Improve our understanding of the physics that modulate circulation and transport within each subregion
- Create observational initiatives to better understand how water, energy, and material is transported between these zones
- Synthesize our knowledge to inform the development of comprehensive coastal management strategies.