Science of the NC Low System

Night-Scape Resources

Northeastern North Carolina Coastal System

In a quest to better understand the nocturnal environment and dark skies of the region, North Carolina Land of Water and A Time For Science designed a study to map and characterize the landscapes, soundscapes, and viewscapes of the Outer Albemarle Peninsula across four eastern NC counties.


Read the full report by clicking here. 

View the full list of survey sites here. 

View the presentation version of the report here. 

City lights of the United States in 2012 by NASA Goddard and created on 12-8-2017. Visible infrared imaging Radiometer Suite.

Flood Dynamics in the Bertie Water Crescent


Small towns in North Carolina’s Land of Water are hard-pressed to create new economic opportunities. Today they face major challenges that include destructive floods, rising sea level, loss of jobs, population declines, high poverty rates, and crumbling infrastructure. In an effort to stimulate new economic opportunities, NC LOW’s strategy is to focus on the natural and cultural, resource-based science, eco-tourism and environmental education as a means of diversifying the rural economy while minimizing the stifling impact of flooding and drought. NC LOW brings this vision to the Bertie County region with the expectation of improving the local quality of life through sustainable economic development that enhances and protects the environment and culture of the region.


Read the full report by clicking here. 

Economic Mobility in Northeastern NC


“This report presents data on economic mobility, poverty, and educational attainment in the 17-county region; explores recent job loss and projected regional industry growth, noting the wages required to meet basic needs in the region; and makes recommendations for how NC Land of Water can work with regional leaders to increase economic opportunity for Northeastern North Carolinians.  MDC approaches this report through the belief that every community wants to be strong and wants to see its people succeed.”

Click here to read the full report. 

The Effect of Tide on the Hydrology and Morphology of a Freshwater River

“How does river hydrology and morphology change due to tidal influence? We contend that this is a question of particular consequence to many earth surface disciplines, but one that has not been adequately addressed. Previous studies have relied on gradients in channel morphology and stratigraphy to infer energy regime of channels. However, in tidal rivers geomorphology influences the energy regime while the energy regime influences morphology; thus, geomorphic and stratigraphic patterns do not fully resolve the mechanisms which lead to change. We addressed this problem by comparing measurements of hydraulic energy and channel morphology along a tidal gradient to predictions of these characteristics in the absence of tides, and attributed the differences to tidal processes. Measurements of discharge, channel area, and energy dissipation (in kJ day–1) were made over a 248 hour period at four sites spanning the non-tidal to tidal freshwater Newport River, NC. We then predicted those characteristics under non-tidal conditions using hydraulic geometry relationships and literature values from coastal plain rivers. Discharge was enhanced more than 10-fold by tide, and this tidal effect increased from upstream to downstream along the tidal gradient. Cross-sectional area increased three-fold due to tide. Energy dissipation measured in the upper tidal river was four-fold lower than predicted to occur in the absence of tide because tides decreased average velocity and discharge. Energy dissipation measured downstream was similar to that predicted to occur without tides, although there was large uncertainty in predicted values downstream. While this limited dataset does not permit us to make broad generalizations for definitive models, it does provide a proof-of-concept for a new approach to addressing a critical problem at the interface of fluvial and coastal morphology.”

Read the full paper here.  

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