Extreme Weather and Estuaries

Estuary background image with color overlay

Introduction

In this activity, students investigate how hurricanes can affect estuaries and coastal communities. Students begin by studying the North Carolina National Estuarine Research Reserve in the Cape Fear area using Google Maps and predicting which areas of the reserve might be more vulnerable to the onslaught of high winds, heavy rain, and storm surge than others. Finally, they monitor and interpret the changes in water quality factors day by day as a severe storm approaches, strikes the estuary, and then dissipates.

This activity consists of two parts that help deepen understanding of estuarine systems:

  1. Investigating an Estuary
  2. Impact of Extreme Weather on an Estuary

+ Read More

Objectives

Students will be able to:

  • Describe the features and landforms associated with a coastal estuary.
  • Investigate and interpret changes in water quality in an estuary due to a severe weather event.
  • Investigate and interpret changes in water quality in an estuary due to a severe weather event.
  • Determine the relationship between the characteristics of an extreme weather event (heavy wind, torrential rains, and storm surge) and the subsequent change in water quality over time.

Extreme Weather and Estuaries: Supporting Resources

Extreme Weather: Path of Destruction

/

Hurricane Hazards

/