Skip to main content
U.S. flag

An official website of the United States government

Coastal Change

USGS research helps managers better understand and project the physical impacts of storms, climate change, and sea-level rise on coastal systems—from the permafrost coasts of Alaska, to the Puget Sound estuary, the California coast, and low-lying Pacific atolls. Coastlines are dynamic, with sediments accumulating or eroding from beaches and tidal marshes, storm waves eroding cliffs, and sea-

Filter Total Items: 35

Alaska Flood Staffs

The U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) uses observations of flooding to monitor coastal conditions and support research by the USGS and its partners into a variety of coastal processes and hazards in Alaska. Local observations of flooding at flood staffs are used to document flood elevations, improve flood modeling, and support floodplain management decisions.
link

Alaska Flood Staffs

The U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) uses observations of flooding to monitor coastal conditions and support research by the USGS and its partners into a variety of coastal processes and hazards in Alaska. Local observations of flooding at flood staffs are used to document flood elevations, improve flood modeling, and support floodplain management decisions.
Learn More

Remote Sensing Coastal Change

We use remote-sensing technologies—such as aerial photography, satellite imagery, structure-from-motion (SfM) photogrammetry, and lidar (laser-based surveying)—to measure coastal change along U.S. shorelines.
link

Remote Sensing Coastal Change

We use remote-sensing technologies—such as aerial photography, satellite imagery, structure-from-motion (SfM) photogrammetry, and lidar (laser-based surveying)—to measure coastal change along U.S. shorelines.
Learn More

Sediment Transport in Coastal Environments

Our research goals are to provide the scientific information, knowledge, and tools required to ensure that decisions about land and resource use, management practices, and future development in the coastal zone and adjacent watersheds can be evaluated with a complete understanding of the probable effects on coastal ecosystems and communities, and a full assessment of their vulnerability to natural...
link

Sediment Transport in Coastal Environments

Our research goals are to provide the scientific information, knowledge, and tools required to ensure that decisions about land and resource use, management practices, and future development in the coastal zone and adjacent watersheds can be evaluated with a complete understanding of the probable effects on coastal ecosystems and communities, and a full assessment of their vulnerability to natural...
Learn More

Coastal Climate Impacts

The impacts of climate change and sea-level rise around the Pacific and Arctic Oceans can vary tremendously. Thus far the vast majority of national and international impact assessments and models of coastal climate change have focused on low-relief coastlines that are not near seismically active zones. Furthermore, the degree to which extreme waves and wind will add further stress to coastal...
link

Coastal Climate Impacts

The impacts of climate change and sea-level rise around the Pacific and Arctic Oceans can vary tremendously. Thus far the vast majority of national and international impact assessments and models of coastal climate change have focused on low-relief coastlines that are not near seismically active zones. Furthermore, the degree to which extreme waves and wind will add further stress to coastal...
Learn More

Dynamic coastlines along the western U.S.

The west coast of the United States is extremely complex and changeable because of tectonic activity, mountain building, and land subsidence. These active environments pose a major challenge for accurately assessing climate change impacts, since models were historically developed for more passive sandy coasts.
link

Dynamic coastlines along the western U.S.

The west coast of the United States is extremely complex and changeable because of tectonic activity, mountain building, and land subsidence. These active environments pose a major challenge for accurately assessing climate change impacts, since models were historically developed for more passive sandy coasts.
Learn More

Low-lying areas of tropical Pacific islands

Sea level is rising faster than projected in the western Pacific, so understanding how wave-driven coastal flooding will affect inhabited, low-lying islands—most notably, the familiar ring-shaped atolls—as well as the low-elevation areas of high islands in the Pacific Ocean, is critical for decision-makers in protecting infrastructure or relocating resources and people.
link

Low-lying areas of tropical Pacific islands

Sea level is rising faster than projected in the western Pacific, so understanding how wave-driven coastal flooding will affect inhabited, low-lying islands—most notably, the familiar ring-shaped atolls—as well as the low-elevation areas of high islands in the Pacific Ocean, is critical for decision-makers in protecting infrastructure or relocating resources and people.
Learn More

Landscape Response to Disturbance

This project characterizes and measures sediment-related effects of landscape disturbances (such as major storms, drought, or wildfire) and river management. We focus primarily on the U.S. west coast, and our work relates to natural hazards and resource management.
link

Landscape Response to Disturbance

This project characterizes and measures sediment-related effects of landscape disturbances (such as major storms, drought, or wildfire) and river management. We focus primarily on the U.S. west coast, and our work relates to natural hazards and resource management.
Learn More

The Impact of Sea-Level Rise and Climate Change on Pacific Ocean Atolls

Providing basic understanding and specific information on storm-wave inundation of atoll islands that house Department of Defense installations, and assessing the resulting impact of sea-level rise and storm-wave inundation on infrastructure and freshwater availability under a variety of sea-level rise and climatic scenarios.
link

The Impact of Sea-Level Rise and Climate Change on Pacific Ocean Atolls

Providing basic understanding and specific information on storm-wave inundation of atoll islands that house Department of Defense installations, and assessing the resulting impact of sea-level rise and storm-wave inundation on infrastructure and freshwater availability under a variety of sea-level rise and climatic scenarios.
Learn More

Coastal Habitats in Puget Sound

A Pacific Northwest icon, Puget Sound is the second-largest estuary in the United States. Its unique geology, climate, and nutrient-rich waters produce and sustain biologically productive coastal habitats. These same natural characteristics also contribute to a high quality of life that has led to growth in human population and urbanization. This growth has played a role in degrading the Sound...
link

Coastal Habitats in Puget Sound

A Pacific Northwest icon, Puget Sound is the second-largest estuary in the United States. Its unique geology, climate, and nutrient-rich waters produce and sustain biologically productive coastal habitats. These same natural characteristics also contribute to a high quality of life that has led to growth in human population and urbanization. This growth has played a role in degrading the Sound...
Learn More

Climate impacts to Arctic coasts

The Arctic region is warming faster than anywhere else in the nation. Understanding the rates and causes of coastal change in Alaska is needed to identify and mitigate hazards that might affect people and animals that call Alaska home.
link

Climate impacts to Arctic coasts

The Arctic region is warming faster than anywhere else in the nation. Understanding the rates and causes of coastal change in Alaska is needed to identify and mitigate hazards that might affect people and animals that call Alaska home.
Learn More

Using Video Imagery to Study Coastal Change: Santa Cruz Beaches

Two video cameras atop the Dream Inn hotel in Santa Cruz, California, overlook the coast in northern Monterey Bay. One camera looks eastward over Santa Cruz Main Beach and boardwalk, while the other looks southward over Cowells Beach.
link

Using Video Imagery to Study Coastal Change: Santa Cruz Beaches

Two video cameras atop the Dream Inn hotel in Santa Cruz, California, overlook the coast in northern Monterey Bay. One camera looks eastward over Santa Cruz Main Beach and boardwalk, while the other looks southward over Cowells Beach.
Learn More

Climate impacts on Monterey Bay area beaches

For beach towns around Monterey Bay, preserving the beaches by mitigating coastal erosion is vital. Surveys conducted now and regularly in the future will help scientists understand the short- and long-term impacts of climate change, El Niño years, and sea-level rise on a populated and vulnerable coastline.
link

Climate impacts on Monterey Bay area beaches

For beach towns around Monterey Bay, preserving the beaches by mitigating coastal erosion is vital. Surveys conducted now and regularly in the future will help scientists understand the short- and long-term impacts of climate change, El Niño years, and sea-level rise on a populated and vulnerable coastline.
Learn More