Keeping Woods Hole Working: Continuing the World's Most Famous Ocean-Centered Research Village
Since 1871 with the establishment of the U.S. Commission of Fish and Fisheries (now NOAA Fisheries), Woods Hole has been an epi-center of fisheries, ocean science and environmental research. Scientists were drawn to waters kept clean and clear by strong local currents, to the deep water anchorages perfect for research vessels, and to the central location, midway along the most heavily fished stretches of New England. Today, Woods Hole is the site of several famous marine science institutions, including Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, the Marine Biological Laboratory, the Woods Hole Research Center, NOAA's Northeast Fisheries Science Center, the Woods Hole Science Aquarium, a USGS coastal and marine geology center, and the home campus of the Sea Education Association. It is also the site of United States Coast Guard Sector Southeastern New England and the Steamship Authority ferry route between Cape Cod and Martha's Vineyard. This globally-important village is threatened. The NOAA tidal gauge at Woods Hole has recorded an increase in relative mean sea level of 2.92 mm (+/- 0.17 mm) annually based on monthly mean sea level data from 1932 to 2019. This equates to approximately 10 inches of mean sea-level rise over the last 87 years. The Massachusetts Coast Flood Risk Model projects future MHHW elevations for Woods Hole at 2.3 feet NAVD88 by 2030, 3.6 feet NAVD88 by 2050, 5.4 feet NAVD88 by 2070, and 8.9 feet NAVD88 by 2100. These projections indicate tidal interference with the much of the Woods Hole in the near future. Climate change is expected to bring more frequent and more intense coastal storms to the region. A preliminary vulnerability assessment for the Iselin Dock (based on MC-FRM) indicates that the WHOI Waterfront complex has approximately a 25% probability of contact with storm surge based on current conditions. That probability could increase to approximately 70% in the next decade, and within the next 50 years, the dock could be impacted by annual storms (100%). While the scientific value of Woods Hole is clear, the economic contribution of the Institutions therein is also significant. This session will cover the inter-institutional work being done to evaluate and save this national treasure along with adaptive techniques being considered for design and engineering of resilient waterfront solutions.
Disaster Planning, Response, Recovery, and Resilience