Merrick HallerMerrick Haller, professor of coastal and ocean engineering and associate head of graduate affairs, has been awarded a 5-year, $1.4 million research grant from the Office of Naval Research to investigate hazardous tidal currents in coastal inlets. Under the grant, “MINERS: Multiple Inlet & Estuary Remote Sensing,” Haller and David Honegger, postdoctoral scholar in the Nearshore Remote Sensing Group, will collect radar observations at seven inlets and estuaries across the U.S. for the purpose of better understanding the dynamic current fronts that develop on the ebbing and flooding tides and how they impact the U.S. Navy’s undersea acoustics operations.

“This is an exciting project for us for several reasons,” said Haller. “Navigational inlets are dynamic places that are often dangerous for fishing boats and cargo ships, so our observations will contribute to improved maritime safety. The U.S. Navy is also interested in these data because they show how fresh water coming out of the estuaries interacts with the salty ocean water forming internal tidal bores. These highly turbulent features are hazards to underwater vehicles and disrupt underwater acoustic communication systems.”

Haller joined Oregon State in 2001. He teaches hydraulics, coastal engineering, and ocean wave mechanics. His research program centers around the remote sensing of waves and currents in the nearshore ocean in order to better understand and forecast coastal hazards such as rip currents and breaking waves. Other efforts relate to the interaction between waves and wave energy converters and quantifying the downstream effects of wave energy arrays.

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