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Data from coastal circulation and water-column properties in the National Park of American Samoa, February-July 2015


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Rosenberger, K.J., and Storlazzi, C.D., 2017, Data from coastal circulation and water-column properties in the National Park of American Samoa, February-July 2015: U.S. Geological Survey data release,


In 2015, U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) and U.S. National Park Service (NPS) researchers began a collaborative study to determine coastal circulation patterns and water-column properties along north-central Tutuila, in an area focused on NPSA’s Tutuila Unit and its coral reef ecosystem. The continuous measurements of waves, currents, tides, and water-column properties (temperature and salinity) from these instrument deployments, coupled with available meteorological measurements of wind and rainfall, provide information on nearshore circulation and the variability in these hydrodynamic properties for NPSA’s Tutuila Unit. These data will complement ongoing and future water quality efforts along north-central Tutuila and in NPSA that [...]

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Sediment, nutrients, and other pollutants from a variety of land-based activities adversely impact many coral reef ecosystems in the U.S. and around the world. These pollutants are transported in surface water runoff, groundwater seepage, and atmospheric fallout into coastal waters, and there is compelling evidence that the sources have increased globally as a result of human-induced changes to watersheds. On Tutuila in American Samoa, and elsewhere on U.S. high islands in the Pacific and Caribbean, significant changes in the drainage basins due to agriculture, feral grazing, fires, and urbanization have in turn altered the character and volume of land-based pollution released to coral reefs. Run-off (and the associated sediment, nutrients, and contaminants often absorbed to it) and deposition on coral reefs are recognized to potentially have significant impact on coral health. There is little information on the spatial variability in such processes at the National Park of American Samoa (NPSA). Nearshore circulation patterns drive the resulting transport pathways for both potentially harmful run-off constituents, as well as larvae and other planktonic organisms. Thus, in order to evaluate the processes affecting reef health, it is first necessary to understand the oceanographic processes driving nearshore circulation, including residence times, exposure rates, and transport pathways. Information on how the Park’s natural resources may be impacted by anthropogenic sources of pollution, sediment run-off, larval transport, or modifications to the marine protected areas is critical to NPSA resource managers for understanding and ultimately managing coastal and marine resources. These data contribute to an investigation into the circulation and transport along the coast off the National Park of American Samoa on the island of Tutuila, American Samoa.


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DOI doi:10.5066/F7RN362H

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