Rutgers could play role in proposed storm resilience center
Rutgers University is considering helping with the development of plans proposed by residents for a Resilience Center in Seaside Heights for future storms.
The the center would include an educational component to help the community learn about the climate and environment, as well as to help better prepare for natural disasters.
Part of the discussions include making equipment upgrades to an existing weather monitoring station currently located on top of the the borough's municipal complex, according to New Jersey State Climatologist Dr. David A. Robinson at Rutgers.
"We'd very much like to play a role as the state climate office, in a couple of dimensions. One is just to provide historical background and our knowledge of storms past, recent, and perhaps look into the future when it comes to coastal storms in New Jersey," Robinson said.
More specifically, Robinson said the hope is to upgrade the weather station that they've had in Seaside for more than a decade, to research quality standards that would be better able to measure a wealth of weather variables such as winds, precipitation, solar radiation, temperature, humidity and barometric pressure.
"That could play a role in helping to monitor storms as they come through the state. In Sandy, our current instrumentation in Seaside Heights measured a 91 mile-per-hour wind gust, which was the highest observed in the state during the storm, but we know we could be better served with a higher grade station at that location," Robinson said.
The state climatology office has more than 40 similar weather stations around the state situated a higher level, and about 24 at the same level as the Seaside location, according to Robinson. He said a top-grade station with instrumentation and installation costs about $10,000, but the cost isn't that expensive when the quality of the equipment is considered, including the priciest Data Logger, which lasts for decades.
"So what you're investing in, is a long-term observation station of the highest quality that has proved to have long-lasting benefits," he said.
Robinson said his department's knowledge of the history of storms along the Jersey coast and the real-time data that would be coming in, would enhance the educational component of the proposed Resilience Center.
"It's really going to make the coastal weathering climate system come alive. It really makes it come alive to the students and to the public. It's not something they're just reading in a text book. It's not even something they're just hearing from a professor. They're actually getting to see the observations and being taught how to understand what is being observed," Robinson said.
Robinson added that "if there's a boardwalk component to this center, it would have a kiosk in it that would show the latest conditions right there at the site and also how it relates to conditions elsewhere in the state."
The idea of the Resilience Center is in the early stages and funding for it hasn't been determined, but is believed to fall under the responsibility of the municipality.