year, people along the atlantic and Gulf coasts look with dread
toward the sea. A time bomb is ticking. They may be visited
any time by the big one - a hurricane. We'll tell you about
one scientist who seeks clues to past storms in the mud. Today,
digging for evidence in - Our Ocean World.
can be devastating. Knowing the frequency of past storms is
vital to planning for future ones. But few weather records extend
beyond the twentieth century. Jeff Donnelly, a scientist at
Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, says abundant evidence
of past storms lies in sediment layers along the coast.
Fine-grained sediments normally collect in sheltered areas,
such as back bays or salt marshes. Intense storms, though, wash
coarse material like sand and gravel into those areas. Donnelly
searches for and dates the layers of sand and gravel.
will help pinpoint which coastal regions have frequently caught
the eye of the storm.
can certanly look at individual regions and say
'We know better what the probability of an intense hurricane
strike is. ' it doesn't give us any predictive power
in terms of when the next one might occur. "
I'm Marilyn Cooley.
Ocean World is produced in cooperation with the National Oceanic
and Atmospheric Administration-NOAA. Learn more about our natural
© 2003 Finger Lakes Productions International