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  1. Abstract

    Coastal aquifers supply freshwater to nearly half the global population, yet they are threatened by salinization. Salinities are typically estimated assuming steady‐state, neglecting the effect of cyclical forcings on average salinity distributions. Here, numerical modeling is used to test this assumption. Multi‐scale fluctuations in sea level (SL) are simulated, from tides to glacial cycles. Results show that high‐frequency fluctuations alter average salinities compared with the steady‐state distribution produced by average SL. Low‐frequency forcing generates discrepancies between present‐day salinities estimated with and without considering the cyclical forcing due to overshoot effects. This implies that salinities in coastal aquifers may be erroneously estimated when assuming steady‐state conditions, since present distributions are likely part of a dynamic steady state that includes forcing on multiple timescales. Further, typically neglected aquifer storage characteristics can strongly control average salinity distributions. This has important implications for managing vulnerable coastal groundwater resources and for calibration of hydrogeological models.

     
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  2. Tropical cyclones and other extreme coastal storms cause widespread interruption and damage to meteorological and hydrological measurement stations exactly when researchers need them most. There is a longstanding need to collect collocated and synchronized measurements in areas where storms severely damage civil/coastal infrastructure. To fill this observational gap, researchers led by author Masters developed a state-of-the-art monitoring station called a “Sentinel.” Sentinels are intended for temporary installation on the beach between the mean tidal datum and the sand dunes and are engineered to operate in and measure extreme wind, storm surge, wave, and hazardous water quality conditions. They are envisioned as a shared-use resource—a hardened IoT (Internet of Things) platform set up in the right place at the right time to study wind and wave loads, coastal erosion and morphology changes, water quality, and other processes during extreme coastal storms. 
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  3. Reconnaissance following Hurricane Ida. Wind damage to light structures, flooding, levee failures, coastal erosion. Field photos, Lidar, UAVs. 
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  4. The Rockefeller Wildlife Refuge, located along the Chenier Plain in Southwest Louisiana, was the location of the sequential landfall of two major hurricanes in the 2020 hurricane season. To protect the rapidly retreating coastline along the Refuge, a system of breakwaters was constructed, which was partially completed by the 2020 hurricane season. Multi-institutional, multi-disciplinary rapid response deployments of wave gauges, piezometers, geotechnical measurements, vegetation sampling, and drone surveys were conducted before and after Hurricanes Laura and Delta along two transects in the Refuge; one protected by a breakwater system and one which was the natural, unprotected shoreline. Geomorphological changes were similar on both transects after Hurricane Laura, while after Delta there was higher inland sediment deposition on the natural shoreline. Floodwaters drained from the transect with breakwater protection more slowly than the natural shoreline, though topography profiles are similar, indicating a potential dampening or complex hydrodynamic interactions between the sediment—wetland—breakwater system. In addition, observations of a fluidized mud deposit in Rollover Bayou in the Refuge are presented and discussed in context of the maintenance of wetland elevation and stability in the sediment starved Chenier Plain. 
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  5. null (Ed.)