Friday, September 12, 2008

Submarine Research

Tiny Goodwin College, in East Hartford, is using a two-person submarine to conduct water quality testing in Long Island Sound, from Groton to Stamford. The sub will bring back data on ...

... dissolved oxygen, turbidity, chlorophyll concentrations, temperature, blue-green algae concentrations (an indication of toxic bacteria) and salinity. It is hoped that the data will help determine sources of pollution entering the Sound from the state's rivers.

That's from this Hartford Courant column. Goodwin, by the way, doesn't even have an environmental studies program yet -- it's starting one in January. But the college's intentions sound good though:

Scheinberg [Good win's president] said the last time a similar study was done was in the 1970s.

"We are dealing with major issues out in the Sound," he said. "There's algae blooms, temperature gradients, lobster die-offs and problems with effluent. We are hoping to come back with great data to check the health of the rivers and how that in turn affects the health of the Sound."

Scheinberg said the college plans to share its findings with environmental agencies and groups monitoring Long Island Sound. The college is also hoping to conduct similar missions annually to provide a base for future analyses.

I assume that when he says the last time a similar study was done was the 1970s, he means a study of how rivers are affecting the Sound. The Connecticut DEP has been collecting the usual water quality data in the Sound itself for years.

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5 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I agree

Peter
ptsw001@yahoo.com.hk

9:41 AM  
Anonymous John said...

I can't believe such a study has not been done since the 1970's. Seems like something that should monitored regularly.

Great blog! Been reading for some time btw. Thanks.

11:46 AM  
Blogger Sam said...

I word about blue-green algae being "indication of toxic bacteria." Um, these folks are going into environmental science, water quality, and oceanography?

Blue-green algae is one of the oldest forms of life on the planet, and simply indicates presence of nutrients in the water column - pretty harmless stuff even if a little gross and smelly in heavy doses. Entero-bacteria and samples pulled for further study such as E. coli, brown tide, and certain harmful algal blooms (HAB) could be more aptly described as being "toxic."

Sure, some grab samples would be great. But continuous emission monitoring (CEM) would be even better. These instruments could record temperature, salinity, oxygen, turbidity, and a host of other metrics in "real time" for each submarine flight. Using bathymetric charts and a geographic information system (GIS), one could visualize the results in 3-D computer visualization screens, cool stuff.

It would be very similar to the airplane flights used for sampling air quality around large smokestack facilities, using CEM for hydrocarbon, nitrogen oxides, and ozone in transects. A very helpful tool in understanding fluid plume dynamics and dispersion. -sam

12:38 PM  
Anonymous Tom said...

Thanks for the nice words, John.

Sam, keep in mind that it was the reporter who said blue-green algae is an indicator or bacteria -- it wasn't a direct quote from one of the scientists. He easily could have misunderstood what he had been told.

5:55 PM  
Blogger Sam said...

Oh, my bad then Tom. Cheers,
sam

7:15 PM  

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