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St. Petersburg Coastal and Marine Science Center

St. Petersburg Coastal and Marine Science Center > National Assessment of Storm-Induced Coastal Change Hazards > Overview

National Assessment of Storm-Induced Coastal Change Hazards

Overview

Oblique aerial photograph near Rodanthe, North Carolina, looking south along the coast on August 30, 2011, three days after landfall of Hurricane Irene.
An oblique aerial photograph looking south along the coast near Rodanthe, North Carolina, on August 30, 2011, three days after landfall of Hurricane Irene.

The Storm-Induced Coastal Change Hazards component of the 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.

Our Nation's coastlines are in constant flux through the processes of erosion and deposition. Storms of various types impact the coast further. Hurricanes are more likely to affect the Atlantic and Gulf coast states, while winter storms affect all coastlines throughout the conterminous United States as well as Alaska and Hawaii. The impacts to population, infrastructure, and habitat vary geographically, depending on shoreline type, whether sandy beach, rocky shore, sea cliff, barrier island or wetland.

As coastal populations continue to grow, the need for a regionally consistent assessment of coastal storm impacts—and the ability to accurately predict them—has become urgent. The USGS Coastal and Marine Geology Program is actively engaged in research to further understand storm events and to develop, models to predict coastal change hazards. The greatest value of this work lies in its ability to inform partner organizations, policymakers, and the general public in order to reduce risks to public safety, environmental quality, and economic stability. This is done by providing tools that can be seamlessly incorporated into planning and mitigation strategies. Education, outreach and partnerships are also a key component of carrying this work and the policy it informs forward. Ultimately, the USGS aims to equip coastal communities with the science and tools needed to enhance their own resilience, helping safeguard the strength of our Nation as a whole.