Coastal Changes and Impacts


Climate change is a significant factor that affects both the natural and human components of the coastal landscape. Therefore, assessments and monitoring of vulnerable coastal lands are needed in locations where an ever-increasing population lives in communities at risk from sea-level rise, inundation, and storm surge.


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Coastal National Elevation Database (CoNED) Applications

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Topographic Change

Topographic Change

Significant Topographic Changes in the United States

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The objective of the U.S. Geological Survey Coastal Changes and Impacts focus area at the Earth Resources Observation and Science Center is to conduct research and applications to assess the interactions between human inhabitants, natural features, and environmental conditions in coastal landscapes. This work focuses on the geographic nature of coastal changes through use of high- resolution, high-accuracy imagery and elevation data that are critical for mapping sea-level rise, flood hazard and inundation, and for characterizing storm surge dynamics.



Date published: March 13, 2019

New US Geological Survey-led Research Helps California Coastal Managers Prioritize Planning and Mitigation Efforts Due to Rising Seas and Storms

New U.S. Geological Survey-led coastal modeling research presents state, federal, and commercial entities with varying storm and sea level-rise scenarios to assist with planning for future infrastructure and mitigation needs along the California coast. 

Date published: February 8, 2019

Recent Lidar Awards Shine Light on Work Being Done at EROS

Two award ceremonies in late January 2019 cast spotlights on the good work being done with Light Detection and Ranging (LiDAR) by current and former staff of the Earth Resources Observation and Science (EROS) Center.

Date published: November 6, 2018

CoNED Digital Elevation Model Helps Majuro Prepare for Sea Level Rise

University of Hawaii Geology and Geophysics Professor Chip Fletcher spread his maps on the table as land planners from Majuro—a large coral atoll of 64 islands in the Central Pacific’s Republic of the Marshall Islands­—leaned in.


Year Published: 2016

Introduction: Special issue on advances in topobathymetric mapping, models, and applications

Detailed knowledge of near-shore topography and bathymetry is required for many geospatial data applications in the coastal environment. New data sources and processing methods are facilitating development of seamless, regional-scale topobathymetric digital elevation models. These elevation models integrate disparate multi-sensor, multi-temporal...

Gesch, Dean B.; Brock, John C.; Parrish, Christopher E.; Rogers, Jeffrey N.; Wright, C. Wayne
Gesch, D.B., Brock, J.C., Parrish, C.E., Rogers, J.N., and Wright, C.W., 2016, Introduction—Special issue on advances in topobathymetric mapping, models, and applications: Journal of Coastal Research, SI no. 76, p. 1–3, at

Year Published: 2016

Hydrologic connectivity: Quantitative assessments of hydrologic-enforced drainage structures in an elevation model

Elevation data derived from light detection and ranging present challenges for hydrologic modeling as the elevation surface includes bridge decks and elevated road features overlaying culvert drainage structures. In reality, water is carried through these structures; however, in the elevation surface these features impede modeled overland surface...

Poppenga, Sandra K.; Worstell, Bruce B.
Poppenga, S.K., and Worstell, B.B., 2016, Hydrologic connectivity—Quantitative assessments of hydrologic-enforced drainage structures in an elevation model: Journal of Coastal Research, SI no. 76, p. 90–106, at

Year Published: 2016

Topobathymetric elevation model development using a new methodology: Coastal National Elevation Database

During the coming decades, coastlines will respond to widely predicted sea-level rise, storm surge, and coastalinundation flooding from disastrous events. Because physical processes in coastal environments are controlled by the geomorphology of over-the-land topography and underwater bathymetry, many applications of geospatial data in coastal...

Danielson, Jeffrey J.; Poppenga, Sandra K.; Brock, John C.; Evans, Gayla A.; Tyler, Dean J.; Gesch, Dean B.; Thatcher, Cindy A.; Barras, John
Danielson, J.J., Poppenga, S.K., Brock, J.C., Evans, G.A., Tyler, D.J., Gesch, D.B., Thatcher, C.A., and Barras, J.A., 2016, Topobathymetric elevation model development using a new methodology—Coastal National Elevation Database: Journal of Coastal Research, SI no. 76, p. 75–89, at