ACEP wraps up oceanographic survey for Alaska wave project

Alaska Center for Energy and Power (ACEP) researchers have completed oceanographic survey of the Yakutat coast in Alaska as part of a multiyear project o assess wave and tidal energy potential in the area.

Nick Konefal maps beach transect elevations (Photo: Nick Konefal/ACEP)

The engineers Nick Konefal, Stephanie Jump and Paul Duvoy, and returning researcher Jack Schmid recently returned from two weeks of fieldwork performing a bathymetric survey off the coast of Yakutat’s Cannon Beach, mapping out nearly 30 square miles of the ocean floor.

According to ACEP, this is the second year in a row the center performed an oceanographic survey of the Yakutat coast, with the latest marking the start of three-year project set for completion in 2020.

Data collected is expected to improve current bathymetric charts and wave modeling, while also locating areas of debris and subsurface natural structures, according to ACEP.

Survey of the Yakutat coast (Photo: ACEP)

Concurrent with the bathymetric survey – over 200 conductivity, temperature and pressure casts gathered oceanographic data throughout the water column.

A real-time kinematic global positioning system was used to map beach transect elevations. They’ll be compared to other coastal elevation surveys to determine sediment and channel changes in the nearby Situk River, whicc is, according to ACEP, an important salmon and trout habitat.

The research continues in Alaska, with the deployment of oceanographic moorings and wave buoys in an operation expected to be completed by the end of the month.

Funding for the research is provided by the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM), the Office of Naval Research and Sandia National Laboratory.