St. Petersburg Coastal and Marine Science Center
The National Assessment of Storm-Induced Coastal Change Hazards component of the National Assessment of Coastal Change Hazards project focuses on understanding the magnitude and variability of extreme storm impacts on sandy beaches. The overall objective is to improve real-time and scenario-based predictions of coastal change to support management of coastal infrastructure, resources, and safety. Read more in the Overview.
As Hurricane Matthew tracks along the southeast U.S. coastline, USGS scientists are investigating coastal change, including forecasts of potential storm-induced coastal change hazards and real-time water level predictions.
Real-Time Storm Response
Response activities include documenting pre-storm morphology, estimating storm-induced extreme water levels, forecasting storm-specific probabilities of coastal change, measuring post-storm morphology, quantifying storm-induced coastal change, and updating assessments of vulnerabilities to storm-induced coastal erosion.
Operational Total Water Level and Coastal Change Forecasts
The USGS is working with the National Weather Service to combine USGS-derived beach morphology and wave predictions from the Nearshore Wave Prediction System (NWPS) to provide regional weather offices detailed forecasts of wave-induced water levels. Two pilot study areas are in the testing phase: Duck, North Carolina and Sunset Beach, Florida.
Storm-Induced Coastal Processes
Process studies examine the physical processes at work prior to, during, and following coastal storm events. Understanding the processes involved in coastal landform evolution will improve the accuracy of the assessments of storm-induced coastal change hazards.
West Coast Storm Impacts
The West Coast of the United States is a different geological environment than the Atlantic and Gulf coasts. It experiences different types of forcing (waves and surge from extratropical storms rather than hurricanes). A major goal of this work is to begin developing a framework for a West Coast coastal hazards assessment, similar to the assessments for the United States' Gulf and Atlantic coasts.
Hurricane Matthew: probabilities of coastal change