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News from USGS Pacific Coastal and Marine Science Center

People stand on a pier near large viewers that look off the pier, one lady is looking through the viewer.
Visitors on Santa Monica Pier look through “Owls,” virtual-reality viewers that show how the beach beside the pier will look when future storms and sea-level rise raise water levels. Photo courtesy of USC Sea Grant.

Visitors to the Santa Monica Pier in southern California can now see what the beach might look like when future storms and sea-level rise raise water levels. Two virtual-reality viewers, named “Owls” for their distinctive appearance, show the projected extent of flooding by a big storm at high tide, by sea-level rise, and by both together. The projections come from the USGS Coastal Storm Modeling System (CoSMoS). The viewers also show how communities can adapt to sea-level rise through nature-based coastal-planning projects, such as enhanced dunes. The City of Santa Monica developed the Owls (one ADA-accessible) in partnership with the USGS, Owlized, and the USC Sea Grant program. The Owls will operate from November 7, 2016, to January 7, 2017; a public celebration was held November 16 to coincide with “King” high tides.

View more photographs on our Facebook page (USGS Coastal and Ocean Science).

Visit the interactive virtual Owl viewer!

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