Pacific Coastal and Marine Science Center

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-level rise threatening low-lying coastal communities.

Filter Total Items: 19
Date published: December 16, 2019
Status: Active

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...

Date published: December 16, 2019
Status: Active

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. The cameras are part of the Remote Sensing Coastal Change project.

Date published: December 16, 2019
Status: Active

Using Video Imagery to Study Coastal Change: Sunset State Beach

Two video cameras overlook the coast at Sunset State Beach in Watsonville, California. Camera 1 looks northwest while Camera 2 looks north. The cameras are part of the Remote Sensing Coastal Change project.

Date published: December 16, 2019
Status: Active

Using Video Imagery to Study Wave Dynamics: Tres Palmas

Four video cameras look westward over the coast and the coral reef at Tres Palmas in Rincón, on the west coast of Puerto Rico. Two cameras look out at the horizon and over the ocean for the mid-field view; one camera offers a zoomed-in, far-field view overlooking the reef and out to the island of Desecheo, a U.S. National Wildlife Refuge; and another camera focuses on the beach.

Contacts: Curt Storlazzi, Miguel Canals-Silander, Patricia Chardon Maldonado
Date published: December 16, 2019
Status: Active

Using Video Imagery to Study Wave Dynamics: Unalakleet

Two video cameras overlook the coast from atop a windmill tower in Unalakleet, Alaska where they look westward over Norton Sound.

Date published: December 16, 2019
Status: Active

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.

Date published: December 9, 2019
Status: Active

Featured Photos and Videos

Keep watching this page for more photos from our scientists!

Contacts: Laura Torresan
Date published: November 8, 2019
Status: Active

Using Video Imagery to Study Coastal Change: Whidbey Island

Video cameras overlook the coast along a beach on Whidbey Island, Island County at the northern boundary of Puget Sound in western Washington.

    Contacts: Eric Grossman
    Date published: September 6, 2019
    Status: Active

    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...

    Date published: August 23, 2019
    Status: Active

    Coral Reef Project: Puerto Rico

    To better understand how waves move across coral reefs and cause flooding on tropical shorelines, USGS scientists have installed video cameras and oceanographic instruments off San Juan and Rincón, Puerto Rico. Their work is part of a study funded by USGS after Hurricanes Irma and Maria. The offshore instruments measure wave heights and speeds; the onshore video cameras show where waves break...

    Date published: July 15, 2019
    Status: Active

    USGS science supporting the Elwha River Restoration Project

    The Elwha River Restoration Project...

    ... has reconnected the water, salmon, and sediment of a pristine river and coast of the Olympic Peninsula of Washington. Coordinated by the National Park Service, restoration of the Elwha River included the removal of two large dams that had blocked salmon and sediment passage for almost 100 years. The largest dam removal in U.S. history began in...

    Date published: July 15, 2019
    Status: Active

    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...