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St. Petersburg Coastal and Marine Science Center

St. Petersburg Coastal and Marine Science Center > Coastal Change Hazards: Hurricanes and Extreme Storms

Coastal Change Hazards: Hurricanes and Extreme Storms

iCoast: Help USGS scientists annotate aerial photographs with keyword tags to identify changes to the coast after Hurricane Sandy.
Hurricane-induced coastal erosion hazards
Hurricane-Induced Coastal Erosion Hazards: Interactive maps show the probabilities of coastal erosion during category 1-5 hurricane landfall.
Pre and Post Storm Lidar Topography
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.
probabilities of storm-induced coastal erosion
Hurricane Sandy Pre and Post Storm Photos: Photography from North Carolina to Massachusetts. View photos.

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

Related links:

USGS Continues Response to Hurricane Sandy

Past Decade of Extreme Storms Leaves Coasts Vulnerable
Sound Waves article

Video: In Harm's Way: Measuring Storm Impacts to Forecast Future Vulnerability
USGS Podcast

2015 National Hurricane Conference

St. Petersburg Coastal and Marine Science Center > Coastal Change Hazards: Hurricanes and Extreme Storms

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Page Last Modified: March 27, 2015 09:21 AM (JSG)