Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Day #7 Long Wave Runs Begin

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

It seems that everyday I come extra prepared for wet weather while working in the flume, the weather turns out to be beautiful. I am definitely not complaining. I appreciate working in dry weather in the flume, and enjoy the dry bike rides to and from flume!

Today we started out with a 1 hour irregular wave run at 9:15 a.m., followed by a 5 minute monochramtic wave run, a 15 minute bichromatic wave run, and then back to a 3 hour irregular wave run. The 3 hour long wave run is the longest wave run we have had so far, and that we will have for this project.

I find it interesting that frogs are continuing to appear in the flume, hopping in the sand, and we continue to try and rescue them from being drowned in the waves. Diane and I rescued two earlier today between wave runs, and released them into the woods. Below is a picture of one of them in a bucket that we carried it in, and I am not sure of the species. I am guessing they are different from the species we see in the United States. I will have to look into this, it is green with brown spots all over it's body.

Below is a picture of the frog as it was released into the woods, and free to enter the woods.

As you can see in the picture below, the dry part of the beach is getting smaller each day. I took this picture this afternoon. The body of water on the other side of the dry part of the beach is supposed to simulate a lagoon environment. Eventually, at the end of the project, they will create waves that will go up and over into the lagoon. So then there will be absolutely no dry part of the beach. Unfortunately, I will not be around to see this occur.

Today, I learned more background information on this project that I have been involved with, and blogging about for the past week. This research project is called Bardex II, which is very similar to Bardex I which occurred 4 years ago in the same flume, and had many of the same researchers involved. Bardex I involved a bed comprised of coarse gravel instead of more fine sand grain that is in the bed right now for Bardex II. So, the researchers who have been involved with both projects, should be able to determine the importance of grain size with beach erosion that is caused by waves by comparing their data from Bardex II to what they received from Bardex I four years ago, which is really quite amazing.

Another highlight from today, was our release of the "Smart Sand Grains" into the flume, which are ping-pong sized micro-electronics devices that track sediment movement. These small ping-pong ball devices are released to turn and spin freely in the waves of the flume, which can simulate the movement of a grain of sand, so we can track live sediment transport in the waves. This afternoon was our first attempt at releasing one of these devices into the flume, and it was exciting! Dr. Diane Foster (Associate Professor at the University of New Hampshire) set the device in the swash zone, and let it ride the waves. Although, she didn't want to lose the device, or let it bump into other instruments, so she was constantly picking it up and moving it while it was riding the waves. This was very challenging! We ended up losing the "Smart Sand Grains" in the waves for about 25 minutes which was slightly nerve racking, but when the wave run finished Diane was able to successfully locate the "Smart Sand Grain". Hooray!  Below is picture of the "Smart Sand Grain" when it was first set into the flume in the swash zone.

The picture below shows it turning and spinning in a wave.

Below, illustrates Dr. Diane Foster's dedication to keeping an eye on the "Smart Sand Grain" that was released. She was dodging in and out of the waves avoiding all the equipment trying to catch it, and then re-releasing the grain into the water. I think by the end of the this set of wave runs it looked like she had gone swimming. Now this is dedication if you ask me!

  Well, as you can see in the picture below, Diane basically went for a swim looking for that "Smart Sand Grain".

But in the end, we had success. Diane found the grain by feeling around the bottom of the bed with her foot. Even though she may be cold and wet, she is still smiling. Nice work Diane!

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