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ERDC researchers participate in the During Nearshore Event Experiment to study coastal storm impacts

Published Sept. 10, 2020
A team of researchers from the U.S. Army Engineer Research and Development Center and the University of Southern Mississippi (USM) are key members of the collaborative During Nearshore Event Experiment, or DUNEX, conducted on North Carolina’s Outer Banks to study coastal processes associated with hurricanes, tropical storms and powerful nor’easters. The team is studying modern coastal features with a long-term perspective, focusing on the relationship with quantifiable coastal features and storm response. Team members include, Davin Wallace from USM, Eve Eisemann from ERDC, Erin Miller, Shara Gremillion and Bill Funderburk, all from USM.

A team of researchers from the U.S. Army Engineer Research and Development Center and the University of Southern Mississippi (USM) are key members of the collaborative During Nearshore Event Experiment, or DUNEX, conducted on North Carolina’s Outer Banks to study coastal processes associated with hurricanes, tropical storms and powerful nor’easters. The team is studying modern coastal features with a long-term perspective, focusing on the relationship with quantifiable coastal features and storm response. Team members include, Davin Wallace from USM, Eve Eisemann from ERDC, Erin Miller, Shara Gremillion and Bill Funderburk, all from USM.

VICKSBURG, Miss. - As storms like Hurricane Laura continue to threaten our coasts with greater frequency and ferocity, researchers from across the country have joined a collaborative research effort to better understand these extreme events and improve coastal resilience.

The During Nearshore Event Experiment (DUNEX) is part of the U.S. Coastal Research Program, an effort to develop a national coordinated science research program to address societal needs along the coast. In addition to advancing research to better prepare coastal communities for hurricanes, tropical storms and powerful nor’easters, the effort aims to develop the next generation of coastal experts. It is a collaboration of academia and numerous federal agencies.

Eve Eisemann, a research physical scientist with the U.S. Army Engineer Research and Development Center’s (ERDC) Coastal and Hydraulics Laboratory (CHL), and her partners Davin Wallace, Erin Miller, Shara Gremillion and Bill Funderburk, all from the University of Southern Mississippi, are key members of this collaborative effort. Their research focuses on the relationship with quantifiable coastal features and storm response. They specifically have studied the characterization and mapping of dune features, overwash features and tying these to storm impacts.

By allowing researchers to closely observe an approaching storm’s impact, DUNEX provides a unique opportunity to use a variety of innovative approaches to collect and analyze coastal phenomena. Combining the diverse expertise of more than 20 universities, agencies and partnering stakeholders, DUNEX aims to improve the basic understanding, predictive capabilities and observational technologies for extreme coastal storms and their impact resulting in short- and long-term strategies for coastal resilience while providing managers of coastal communities with greater access to scientific data.

“Lessons learned from DUNEX will be broadly applicable to better understand coastal vulnerability to storm impacts across the U.S., including recent events like Hurricanes Laura, Michael, Harvey and others,” said Eisemann.

Conducted at the ERDC’s Field Research Facility (FRF), DUNEX brings scientists from across the country to North Carolina’s Outer Banks to study coastal processes associated with extreme coastal events. The multi-phase field experiment began with a fall 2019 pilot study, followed by a full experiment scheduled from fall 2020 through winter 2022. While the current COVID-19 pandemic has delayed some of the activities, DUNEX participants have been busy processing and analyzing their pilot experiment data. For more information, visit https://uscoastalresearch.org/dunex

The ERDC helps solve the nation’s most challenging problems in civil and military engineering, geospatial sciences, water resources and environmental sciences. As one of the most diverse engineering and scientific research organizations in the world, ERDC conducts research and development in support of the Soldier, military installations and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers civil works mission, as well as for other federal, state and municipal authorities. As part of ERDC, CHL addresses an entire spectrum of water resource challenges in groundwater, watersheds, rivers, reservoirs, estuaries, harbors, coastal inlets and wetlands. CHL’s FRF is an internationally recognized observatory and premier location for coastal field studies.