Southern California Projects
Improved observations mean better weather predictions and, in turn, more accurate warnings and mitigation efforts. The benefits from this project included reduced costs in loss and damage to the individual citizen and the government. This project is producing closer collaborations between NOAA and the regional integrated ocean observing system efforts, which will generate more targeted products and services for the region. In addition, the information garnered from this project will assist other Coastal Storms Program projects—such as the bathymetric and topographic projects for flooding and storm surge—as well as other local partners working on coastal storm impacts.
The vertical datum software application for Southern California is being provided to federal, state, county, and local coastal resource and emergency planners for use in their coastal applications. Since the software is becoming publicly available, this information will also greatly improve available shoreline information for geographic information system users and modelers in the region. The properly merged bathymetric and topographic DEM will be vital to a number of applications—including the evaluation of the impacts of coastal storms related to erosion and accretion, as well as modeling studies of inundation associated with storm surge and tsunamis. The tide models developed for computing tidal datum fields in the vertical datum transformation tool can be extended to experiment with storm surge simulations in the Southern California Bight.
NOAA’s coastal and marine weather prediction suffers from a lack of in situ observations.
This operational gap in NOAA’s observing system motivated Coastal Storms Program to fund the NOAA Earth System Research Laboratory (ESRL) to conduct an evaluation of two state-of-the art wind-profiler technologies to determine the technology best suited to marine and coastal weather applications. Due to value of coastal wind profiling demonstrated during the Coastal Storms Program (CSP) working in the Southern California project area, other projects sponsored by NOAA, including the Hydrometeorology Testbed (HMT), the California Department of Water Resources now will sponsor the permanent deployment of four coastal atmospheric river observatories (AROs). These coastal wind profilers will provide weather forecasters with key observations of atmospheric rivers making landfall during winter storms. Atmospheric rivers are areas of concentrated wind and water vapor in the atmosphere. They are responsible for over 90% of the floods that occur along the U.S. West Coast.
The Debris Flow Warning demonstration project, a collaboration of NOAA (NWS, OAR and NOS) and the USGS has been on-going for the last 5 years. NOAA Coastal Storms Program provided initial start up funding to pilot this demonstration project in its first year. Although originally intended to be a fully funded project by the USGS after the demonstration, funding support has not come through to expand it across the State of California and throughout the US for both burned and non-burned areas. Nevertheless, data collection in the intensive research areas, including high resolution radar, and a number of ground-based stations such as rain gauges, stream gauges, surface runoff, high-resolution LiDAR terrain elevation measurements, etc. have resulted in an improved understanding of the triggering processes.
Chemical fate and transport modeling is used to characterize the stormwater-driven environmental movement of selected contaminants to nearshore habitats. Exposure profiles are combined with response information from an ecotoxicological database to estimate the potential for adverse health outcomes in fish and invertebrate communities. The public and the scientific community are benefiting by having electronic access to new and existing data on sediment and water pollution. These contributions from CSP are important for understanding the health of coastal ecosystems in the Southern California Bight. This information also helps local planners identify the sources, transports, and fates of specific chemical pollutants in estuarine and marine environments. The information should improve the effectiveness of regional activities designed to mitigate or otherwise reduce the ecological impacts of nonpoint source pollution.
The concept for this tool was obtained from an on-line survey and two needs assessment workshops held in Los Angeles and San Diego in January 2006. During the workshops, federal, state, and local officials discussed the tool concept and provided valuable feedback to help guide development. The tool was built on a geographic information system (GIS) Internet map server—to provide the capability to share data and analyses with other decision makers. The forecast weather information will be provided by the NOAA National Weather Service National Digital Forecast Database (NDFD). The NDFD provides forecast information for any location through a series of forecast grids detailing sensible weather elements (e.g., wind speed, temperature, etc.). The Weather and Hazards Viewer is available through the Digital Coast.
As part of the Coastal Storms Program, NOAA updated precipitation frequency estimates for the state of California to be included in NOAA Atlas 14. The updates will be published as subsequent volumes of NOAA Atlas 14, "Precipitation Frequency Atlas for the United States".
CSP provided support to the Tijuana River National Estuary Research Reserve to quantify data on upstream sedimentation/trash generation and provide outreach efforts that integrate members of the Los Laureles community directly in the monitoring, training, and instituting a local alert system. These technology efforts will provide researchers and community stakeholders on either side of the U.S.-Mexico border a mechanism to evaluate and implement best management practices to reduce risk to human health and the environment. For more information on the project, go to: www.sdcoastalstorms.org/index.cfm?method=cPortal.Init