Driving into school today, listening to NPR update the Sandy destruction I drove around a long curve and there it was. A full moon. My first thought upon seeing this particular full moon was how powerful that tiny moon is. After all, some of the destruction from Hurricane Sandy can be attributed to the high tide coinciding with the storm. My daughter lives in Brooklyn and I’ve been pretty anxious these past couple of days. She is fine. She evacuated to the lake house in Pennsylvania. The storm was bad there too but they survived intact, no trees down, no power outages.
How different would this storm have been if the moon was in a different phase? I haven’t had any course work into tides and tidal forces beyond the basics in freshman level sciences classes. I’m sure someone out there has done modeling to show the answer to my question but would I even understand the papers that explain computer and mathematical models on that level? Probably not. Fascinating to say the least. I envy people who get math on that level.
How are the ecosystems going to be affected by this storm? So many studies to be done up and down the eastern seaboard. Maybe some of the internships I am applying to this summer will be studying this storm’s effects upon the Chesapeake Bay ecosystem. I do hope that I’ll get to participate in the research.
Salt water moving into areas where it hasn’t been before. The tidal force pulling up sea grass beds, oyster beds, and just plain scouring the dunes and coastal areas of all vegetation. How long will it take for the areas to recover? One season, two seasons, never? Are the wild pony populations of the outer banks islands suffering? Does commercial fishing improve or suffer immediately after a storm of this magnitude? Are there species of plants that can hang on in such a storm? What attributes lead to a plant surviving this storm? In areas that are swept bare what will the re-population look like? What are the pioneer plants for the sea shore? So many questions and soon I will be one of the scientists looking for answers.