How do hurricanes impact on the coastal environment?

the estuarine research federation 9The coastal areas are the most vulnerable regions related to environmental impacts of hurricanes. With the increasing incidents of hurricane and storm-related devastative tragedies, the international Estuarine Research Federation has planned to publish a special issue of its scientific journal, Estuaries and Coasts. It will be focused on environmental impacts of hurricanes in coastal areas.

One of the guest editors for the special issue, Holly Greening of the Tampa Bay Estuary Program, said that the special issue’s impetus was the intense 2004 hurricane season.

It is during that period, four major hurricanes made landfall in Florida within a three-month period. Greening said,

One surprising conclusion that can be drawn from this collection of research is that natural systems are actually quite resilient in the face of these storms. While hurricanes often wreak havoc with human systems and infrastructure, many of the habitats and organisms studied rebounded quite well in the weeks and months following the 2004 storms.

Talking further on the issue, she said,

This special issue compiles research findings and results of long-term monitoring to give us a chance to look at these large, anomalous storms in the context of long-term trends.

In this journal issue, both the individual and cumulative effects of storms are explored — on coastal environments, animals, and plants. It also examined the effect of these storms on coastal management.

The published research data here will surely be of use for developing and testing a new hurricane scale needed to predict the coastal impacts of extreme storms

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