Fluid dynamics, the study of fluids in motion, lies at the heart of most questions that humans ask of the ocean. Increasing numbers of people are moving to its coastlines, yet the added stress we put on the ocean can overwhelm its benefits. Evaluating problems such as storm surges, climate change, and pollutant discharges requires a detailed knowledge of ocean, estuary, and air-sea transport processes.
I enjoy living and working in a metro region with 20 million people mostly living on islands like Manhattan, and more affected by the ocean than many ever realized. I’m a research assistant professor at Stevens Institute of Technology in Hoboken, and my specific research interests include estuary and coastal ocean physics, storm surges and sea level rise, urban coastal adaptation, turbulent mixing, air-sea interaction and gas exchange, sediment transport, urban and coastal atmospheric science, and numerical ocean and atmospheric modeling.
6 May 2015: Our winning HUD-Rebuild By Design project is proceeding to the capital phase, meaning it is being studied by consultants, planned in more detail, and constructed (I am just an adviser now)
2 May 2015: We delivered our final report and closed out a Sea Grant funded collaboration with Jersey City Division of City Planning, where we designed and tested a coastal flood protection plan with storm surge simulations.
1 May 2015: We are hiring more postdocs, PhD students, possibly even research scientists — email me with your qualifications for more information (useful skills: flood and wave modeling, statistical analysis, hazard assessment, …)
22 Mar 2015: Sea level rise added $2 billion to Sandy’s toll at New York City (preliminary results, from our conference presentation – still more work to do, toward publication)
Columbia University, Ph.D., physical oceanography, dissertation
University of South Carolina, M.S., marine science (adviser: Gail Kineke)
University of Michigan, B.S., physical oceanography
Orton, P., S. Vinogradov, N. Georgas, A. Blumberg, N. Lin, V. Gornitz, C. Little, K. Jacob, and R. Horton, 2015. New York City Panel on Climate Change 2015 Report Chapter 4: Dynamic Coastal Flood Modeling, Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences, 1336(1), 56-66. web | PDF | NYCreport-PDF
Wang, J., D. G. MacDonald, P. M. Orton, K. Cole, and J. Lan, 2015. The Effect of Discharge, Tides, and Wind on Lift-Off Turbulence, Estuaries Coasts, 1-15, DOI: 10.1007/s12237-015-9958-y. web
Georgas, N., P. Orton, A. Blumberg, L. Cohen, D. Zarrilli, and L. Yin, 2014. The Impact of Tidal Phase on Hurricane Sandy’s Flooding Around New York City and Long Island Sound, Journal of Extreme Events, DOI: 10.1142/S2345737614500067. web
Meir, T., Orton, P.M., Pullen, J., Holt, T., Thompson, W.T., Arend, M.F., 2013. Forecasting the New York City urban heat island and sea breeze during extreme heat events. Weather and Forecasting. doi: 10.1175/WAF-D-13-00012.1. web | PDF
Grimmond C.S.B., A. Baklanov, M. Best, R. Betts, J. Feddema, P. Falloon, G. Folberth, R. Frances, T. Holt, T. Jackson, E. Larson, M. Lawrence, M. McCarthy, T. Meir, N. Mirumachi, K. Oleson, P. Orton, and J. Pullen, 2013. Coastal Megacities: Contributions to environmental changes at regional and global scales, Megacities and the Coast: Risk, Resilience and Transformation (Pelling, M. & Blackburn, S., Eds.), 100-129.
Orton, P., N. Georgas, A. Blumberg, and J. Pullen, 2012. Detailed Modeling of Recent Severe Storm Tides in Estuaries of the New York City Region, J. Geophys. Res., 117(C9), doi:10.1029/2012JC008220. web | PDF
Harrison, E., Veron, F. Ho, D., Reid, M., Orton, P. and McGillis, W., 2012. Nonlinear interaction between rain-and wind-induced air-water gas exchange, J. Geophys. Res., 117(C3), C03034. web
Ho, D.T., Schlosser, P. and Orton, P.M., 2011. On factors controlling air-water gas exchange in a large tidal river, Estuaries and Coasts, 34:1103-1116, DOI: 10.1007/s12237-011-9396-4. web
Orton, P.M., McGillis, W.R., and Zappa, C.J., 2011. An autonomous self-orienting catamaran for measuring air-water fluxes and forcing. In: Gas Transfer at Water Surfaces, edited by S. Komori et al., Kyoto University Press. PDF
Hickey, B. M., R. M. Kudela, J. D. Nash, K. W. Bruland, W. T. Peterson, P. MacCready, E. J. Lessard, D. A. Jay, N. S. Banas, A. M. Baptista, E. P. Dever, P. M. Kosro, L. K. Kilcher, A. R. Horner-Devine, E. D. Zaron, R. M. McCabe, J. O. Peterson, P. M. Orton, J. Pan, and M. C. Lohan, 2010. River Influences on Shelf Ecosystems: Introduction and Synthesis, J. Geophys. Res., doi:10.1029/2009JC005452. web
Horner-Devine, A., Jay, D.A., Orton, P.M., and Spahn, E., 2009. A conceptual model of the strongly tidal Columbia River plume. Journal of Marine Systems, 78(3): 460–475, doi:10.1016/j.jmarsys.2008.11.025. web
Jay, D.A., Pan, J., Orton, P.M., and Horner-Devine, A., 2009. Asymmetry of tidal plume fronts in an eastern boundary current regime. Journal of Marine Systems, 78(3): 442-459, doi:10.1016/j.jmarsys.2008.11.015. web
Orton, P.M. and Visbeck, M., 2009. Variability of internally generated turbulence in an estuary, from 100 days of continuous observations. Continental Shelf Research, doi:10.1016/j.csr.2007.07.008. PDF | web
Pan, J., Jay, D. A., and Orton, P. M., 2007. Analyses of internal solitary waves generated at the Columbia River plume front using SAR imagery, J. Geophys. Res., 112, C07014, doi:10.1029/2006JC003688. web
Jay, D. A., Orton, P. M., Chisholm, T., Wilson, D.J., and Fain, A.M.V. 2007. Particle trapping in stratified estuaries: Consequences of mass conservation. Estuaries and Coasts 30(6), 1095-1105, doi: 10.1007/BF02841399. web
Jay, D. A., Orton, P. M., Chisholm, T., Wilson, D.J., and Fain, A.M.V. 2007. Particle trapping in stratified estuaries: Application to observations. Estuaries and Coasts 30(6), 1106-1125, doi: 10.1007/BF02841400. web
Emmett, R.L, Brodeur, R.D. and Orton, P.M. 2004. The vertical distribution of juvenile salmon (Oncorhynchus spp.) and associated fishes in the Columbia River plume. Fisheries Oceanography 13:6, 392-402, doi: 10.1111/j.1365-2419.2004.00294.x. web
Fain, A.M.V., Jay, D. A., Wilson, D. J., Orton, P. M., and Baptista, A. M. 2001. Seasonal, monthly and tidal patterns of particulate matter dynamics in the Columbia River estuary, Estuaries 24: 770-786, doi: 10.2307/1352884. web
Orton, P.M. and Kineke, G.C. 2001. Comparing calculated and observed vertical suspended sediment distributions from a Hudson River Estuary turbidity maximum. Estuarine, Coastal and Shelf Science, 52(3), 401-410, doi: 10.1006/ecss.2000.0747. PDF | web
NY Times Room-For-Debate editorial, Should New York Build Sea Gates? Big Projects, Big Problems, So Think Small
Higinbotham, J.R., Moisan, J. and Orton, P. 2009. Solar Powered Autonomous Surface Vehicle Development and Operation. Sea Technology 50(7).
O’Mullan, G., Orton, P., McGillis, W., Sambrotto, R., and Mailloux, B., Sniffing out the Truth, New York Times Sunday Edition, Opinions Section, January 21, 2007. PDF | web
Orton, P.M., (on climate change) Energy crisis much broader than perceived, The Oregonian, Editorial Section, January 29, 2001. PDF
Schwing, F.B., Orton, P.M., Jay, D.A., Batchelder, H. and Rosenfeld, L.K. 1999. Conference explores El Nino’s relationship to the Northeast Pacific. EOS: Transactions, American Geophysical Union, 80(11):122.