The approach, which uses two video cameras to feed data into an advanced computer system, can observe large areas of ocean waves in real time and help explain what they are doing and why, scientists say.
The system may be of particular value as climate change and rising sea levels pose additional challenges to vulnerable shorelines around the world, threatened by coastal erosion. The technology should be comparatively simple and inexpensive to implement.
“An ocean wave crashing on shore is actually the end of a long story that usually begins thousands of miles away, formed by wind and storms,” said David Hill, an associate professor of coastal and ocean engineering at Oregon State University. “We’re trying to achieve with cameras and a computer what human eyes and the brain do automatically – see the way that near-shore waves grow, change direction and collapse as they move over a seafloor that changes depth constantly.”
This is the first attempt to use stereo optical imaging in a marine field setting on such a large scale, Hill said, and offers the potential to provide a constant and scientifically accurate understanding of what is going on in the surf zone. It’s also a form of remote sensing that doesn’t require placement of instruments in the pounding surf environment.
Applications could range from analyzing wave impacts to locating shoreline structures, building ocean structures, assisting the shipping industry, improving boating safety, reducing property damage or, literally, providing some great detail to surfers about when the “surf’s up.”
Only in recent years, Hill said, have extraordinary advances in computer science made it possible to incorporate and make sense out of what a dynamic marine environment is doing at the moment it happens.
“A wave is actually a pretty difficult thing for a computer to see and understand,” Hill said. “Some things like speed are fairly easy to measure, but subtle changes in height, shape and motion as the waves interact with a changing ocean bottom, wind and sediments are much more difficult.”
Researchers at OSU and the Technical University of Delft in The Netherlands made important recent advances toward this goal, which were reported in Coastal Engineering, a professional journal.
Other studies at OSU have documented that ocean wave heights and coastal erosion in the Pacific Northwest are increasing in recent decades, adding to the need for a better understanding of those waves when they hit shore.
One study just last year concluded that the highest offshore waves may be as much as 46 feet, up from estimates of only 33 feet that were made as recently as 1996, and a 40 percent increase.
About the OSU College of Engineering: The OSU College of Engineering is among the nation’s largest and most productive engineering programs. In the past six years, the College has more than doubled its research expenditures to $27.5 million by emphasizing highly collaborative research that solves global problems, spins out new companies, and produces opportunity for students through hands-on learning.
David Hill | EurekAlert!
Climate satellite: Tracking methane with robust laser technology
22.06.2017 | Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft
How reliable are shells as climate archives?
21.06.2017 | Leibniz-Zentrum für Marine Tropenforschung (ZMT)
An international team of scientists has proposed a new multi-disciplinary approach in which an array of new technologies will allow us to map biodiversity and the risks that wildlife is facing at the scale of whole landscapes. The findings are published in Nature Ecology and Evolution. This international research is led by the Kunming Institute of Zoology from China, University of East Anglia, University of Leicester and the Leibniz Institute for Zoo and Wildlife Research.
Using a combination of satellite and ground data, the team proposes that it is now possible to map biodiversity with an accuracy that has not been previously...
Heatwaves in the Arctic, longer periods of vegetation in Europe, severe floods in West Africa – starting in 2021, scientists want to explore the emissions of the greenhouse gas methane with the German-French satellite MERLIN. This is made possible by a new robust laser system of the Fraunhofer Institute for Laser Technology ILT in Aachen, which achieves unprecedented measurement accuracy.
Methane is primarily the result of the decomposition of organic matter. The gas has a 25 times greater warming potential than carbon dioxide, but is not as...
Hydrogen is regarded as the energy source of the future: It is produced with solar power and can be used to generate heat and electricity in fuel cells. Empa researchers have now succeeded in decoding the movement of hydrogen ions in crystals – a key step towards more efficient energy conversion in the hydrogen industry of tomorrow.
As charge carriers, electrons and ions play the leading role in electrochemical energy storage devices and converters such as batteries and fuel cells. Proton...
Scientists from the Excellence Cluster Universe at the Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität Munich have establised "Cosmowebportal", a unique data centre for cosmological simulations located at the Leibniz Supercomputing Centre (LRZ) of the Bavarian Academy of Sciences. The complete results of a series of large hydrodynamical cosmological simulations are available, with data volumes typically exceeding several hundred terabytes. Scientists worldwide can interactively explore these complex simulations via a web interface and directly access the results.
With current telescopes, scientists can observe our Universe’s galaxies and galaxy clusters and their distribution along an invisible cosmic web. From the...
Temperature measurements possible even on the smallest scale / Molecular ruby for use in material sciences, biology, and medicine
Chemists at Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz (JGU) in cooperation with researchers of the German Federal Institute for Materials Research and Testing (BAM)...
19.06.2017 | Event News
13.06.2017 | Event News
13.06.2017 | Event News
26.06.2017 | Life Sciences
26.06.2017 | Physics and Astronomy
26.06.2017 | Information Technology