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Two CoastCams installed in the Outer Banks for DUNEX project

Meg Palmsten and Jenna Brown installed two CoastCams towers at Pea Island, in the Outer Banks of North Carolina, to monitor waves, water levels, and coastal change as part of the DUring Nearshore Event eXperiment (DUNEX) project.

Two high-resolution, digital cameras are mounted on towers overlooking the beach and dunes
View of the new CoastCams towers mounted among dunes. Visitors to the beach are asked not to disturb the site. (Credit: Jenna Brown, USGS. Public domain.)

Two high-resolution, digital cameras were mounted on towers overlooking the beach, dunes, and instrument arrays in the Outer Banks of North Carolina last weekend. The cameras will collect pairs of overlapping images throughout calm and storm conditions to better understand coastal change processes. Images will be used to measure wave runup at the shoreline and estimate the storm-induced total water level. Additionally, stereo processing will produce observations of the beach topographic profile at hourly intervals. Camera data, beach-change measurements, and topographic surveys will reveal how the beach and dune profiles change, as well as the magnitude of sand eroded or accreted along an experimental transect extending from the dune and into the nearshore zone. If a storm should impact the North Carolina coastline this fall, the camera and beach sensors will measure the position and magnitude of the shoreline total water level throughout the storm, and will provide insight into the observed elevation changes, as well as help to validate numerical models. 

The DUring Nearshore Event eXperiment (DUNEX)  is a collaborative community experiment, composed of federal agencies, universities, and non-governmental organizations (NGOs), designed to study nearshore coastal processes during storm events. This multi-phase experiment, taking place on the Outer Banks of North Carolina, began with a Fall 2019 pilot study, followed by the full experiment, taking place from late August 2021 through November 2021. By leveraging research efforts from different groups, DUNEX will improve basic understanding, forecasts, and observational technologies for coastal storm processes and impacts.  USGS' participation in DUNEX will contribute new measurements and models that will increase our understanding of storm impacts to coastal environments, including hazards to humans and infrastructure and changes in landscape and natural habitats. 

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