Science Center Objects

Welcome to the Pacific Coastal Marine Science Center (PCMSC) Seminar Series! Our seminars are on the first and third Tuesday of every month, from 10:00 – 11:00 am Pacific Time (1:00 - 2:00 pm Eastern) via Microsoft Teams.

In addition, we also co-host a special “Coastal Change Hazards” seminar on the second Tuesday every other month at 10am Pacific/1pm Eastern.

Link to join the Microsoft Teams live stream will be posted before each seminar.

Check out our archive of past seminars.


Tuesday, August 3, 2021 10:00am PDT

Sean Vitousek, USGS Pacific Coastal and Marine Science Center

Satellites enable national-scale predictions of coastal change

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View from the sky looking down on a coastal town with a sandy beach and buildings.

Abstract: Scientists at the U.S. Geological Survey and elsewhere increasingly rely on computer modeling to help understand and predict large-scale, long-term coastal change.  However, achieving accurate modeling predictions requires thorough and thoughtful integration with observational data to calibrate and validate models. Unfortunately, field observations of coastal change are often spatiotemporally sparse, since data-collection efforts are often limited to a handful of local monitoring sites. Satellites promise to dramatically increase the spatiotemporal resolution of observational data, enabling robust predictions of coastal change like never before.  Here we present a coastal change modeling application (using the CoSMoS-COAST model – Vitousek et al., 2017, 2021) to the entire 1,350 km coastline of California.  The model is assimilated with satellite-derived shoreline observations from the CoastSat toolbox (Vos et al., 2019).  We demonstrate that Satellite observations show excellent agreement with traditional GPS surveys, when corrections for tide and wave setup are applied.  We show that the model demonstrates good agreement with 5 years of validation data (achieving a median RMS error of ~10 m in the forecasted shoreline position across California).  Finally, we contend that the combination of data-integrated coastal change models with satellite observations represents the basis for national-scale predictions of coastal change, and we suggest steps for realizing this EarthMAP-like system.


Tuesday, August 10, 2021 10:00am PDT

Li Erikson and Ann Gibbs, USGS Pacific Coastal and Marine Science Center


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View from the sky of a jagged coastline with many roads, houses, a park, and other buildings nearby.

Natural Bridges State Beach, shown here in the middle of the photo, is nestled amongst coastal neighborhoods in the southwestern part of Santa Cruz, California. View is looking south. The offices of the USGS Pacific Coastal and Marine Science Center are just a few hundred feet north, outside the bottom portion of the photograph.

Photo by Laura Torresan