Hurricane Sandy Pre- and Post-Storm Lidar Topography: Comparisons of beach elevations measured before and after the storm quantify magnitudes of coastal change resulting from Hurricane Sandy.
Hurricane Sandy Pre and Post Storm Photos: Photography from North Carolina to Massachusetts. View photos.
Hurricane Isaac: Before and after photo pairs show examples of coastal change resulting from Hurricane Isaac.
Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill: Areas potentially vulnerable to oil deposition were identified by comparing island topography to modeled water levels.
Find out more
One of the goals of the USGS Coastal and Marine Geology Program (USGS-CMG) is a nationally consistent assessment of coastal change hazards. Tropical and extra-tropical storms provide a powerful force that generates dangerous waves and currents capable of moving large amounts of sand, destroying buildings and infrastructure, and reshaping our nation's coastline. A USGS-CMG project titled " National Assessment of Coastal Change Hazards" (NACCH) includes research that focuses on understanding the timing, magnitude, and variability of the impacts of hurricanes and extreme storms on the sandy beaches of the United States. The overall objective is to improve the capability to assess the vulnerability of the nation's coast to extreme storms and to predict actual coastal changes that results from specific storms. Such a capability will support management of coastal infrastructure, resources, and safety.
To achieve the project's objectives our response to storm events is triggered by a number of factors including events where landfall has a high likelihood of causing significant coastal change, where there are expected to be significant societal or ecosystem impacts, or where there are overlaps with ongoing research or applied efforts.
Response activities include:
- Providing expert knowledge on how beaches respond to and recover from storms
- Documenting pre-storm morphology (ground, lidar, and/or photo surveys)
- Estimating storm-induced extreme water levels based on NOAA wave and surge models
- Forecasting storm-specific probabilities of coastal change
- Measuring post-storm morphology (ground, lidar, and/or photo surveys)
- Quantifying storm-induced coastal change
- Updating assessment of vulnerabilities to storm-induced coastal erosion