NOAA 2005-R442
Contact: Glenda Powell
NOAA News Releases 2005
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Station Helps Measure Hurricane Surge and Land Sink

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and the University of Southern Mississippi will inaugurate a new tide and water level station today at the university’s Gulf Coast Research Laboratory in Ocean Springs, Miss. The new station will help support land subsidence measurements and will monitor storm surges during hurricane seasons.

NOAA and USM officials will participate in a ribbon cutting ceremony at the USM Gulf Coast Research Laboratory Gulf Coast Research Laboratory located at East Beach Drive on Halstead Road in Ocean Springs, Miss., today at 2:30 p.m.

“One of the most important features of this new station is that it not only records and reports tide and water level information in real-time, but also provides very accurate positioning information to support coastal projects, infrastructure and the growth of coastal communities along the Mississippi coast,” said Tim Osborn, NOAA’s manager, regional programs.

As the newest station on the Gulf Coast, the Ocean Springs station is also the first on the coast that is co-located with a global positioning system based Continuously Operating Reference Station (CORS). The reference station provides highly accurate positioning information to the coastal surveying, engineering and science community. By linking a CORS station with a long-term water level station, there are many applications that will be supported, such as long-term subsidence measurements, relative sea level trends assessments, storm surge monitoring from hurricanes and other coastal storms, shoreline change and habitat restoration.

Grant funding by NOAA has established the new Southern Mississippi height modernization initiative to install a network of reference stations throughout the state as well as water level stations along the coast. The program, carried out through USM’s Gulf Coast Geospatial Center at the Gulf Coast Research Laboratory, will provide the resources for Mississippi to have higher accuracy in data on land elevations and to relate those measurements to changes in sea level in the Gulf of Mexico.

“The addition of the new tide station coupled with its GPS capabilities is an important new resource in helping protect the coastal citizens of Mississippi. As our populations grow along the coast, coastal flooding and hurricane evacuation are all needs that rely on accurate ways to determine our coastal elevations compared to water levels of the Gulf,” said David Mooneyhan, deputy director of the Southern Mississippi Gulf Coast Geospatial Center.

The new tide and water level station is a basic element in NOAA’s contribution to the development of a Global Earth Observation System of Systems (GEOSS). GEOSS will link existing technology in space, the ocean and on land in order to provide a framework for systems, data and vital information. With GEOSS, scientists and policy makers in different countries can design, implement and operate compatible observation systems.

NOAA’s National Ocean Service is dedicated to exploring, understanding, conserving and restoring the nation’s coasts and oceans. NOS balances environmental protection with economic prosperity in fulfilling its mission of promoting safe navigation, supporting coastal communities, sustaining coastal habitats, and mitigating coastal hazards.

NOAA, an agency of the U.S. Department of Commerce, is dedicated to enhancing economic security and national safety through research to better understand weather and climate-related events and to manage wisely the nation's coastal and marine resources.

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