In the Hinsdale Wave Research Lab at Oregon State University, Associate Professor Tuba Ozkan-Haller studies how beaches recover after winter storms. The hope is that this information will go into predictive models that can help developers make smart decisions about how to protect properties or infrastructure along coastlines. “People who have lived near the coast know that in the summertime the dry beach actually increases,” says Ozkan-Haller. “There’s more sand that is just sitting on the dry beach area in the summertime. And that sand actually goes away in the wintertime because of the storms and forms a bar, sort of a submerged island offshore. It’s the way that the beach protects itself…. as the summer then approaches again during springtime, waves move that bar, that mound, back onto the beach. And, we found out that we’re actually very bad at predicting how that happens.”
She is joined by civil engineering professor Merrick Haller, who describes how the instrumentation is used to interpret the data. After the data is analyzed, they hope to build numerical models that will help predict what will happen to the beaches after severe storms, and whether there will be increased need for protective structures or beach nourishment.