My work at USGS is aimed at improving our understanding of coastal change processes, developing innovative methods for forecasting coastal change, applying these methods to identify potential hazards along our Nation’s coastlines, and then sharing the information with coastal stakeholders.
Hilary Stockdon is a Research Oceanographer with the U.S. Geological Survey. For almost 20 years, she has been part of a multifaceted project that quantifies how sea level rise, storms and long-term erosion are shaping our shorelines. Her research contributions include advances in:
- Real-time forecasts and scenario-based predictions of coastal total water level and geomorphic change during storms
- Use of wave runup parameterization in coastal hazard assessments
- Barrier island response to extreme storms and hurricanes
- Modeling wave swash, setup, and runup
- Lidar-derived measures of coastal change
Her work is both fundamental and applied: rigorous science on coastal processes is used to create tools for decision makers who are responsible for preparedness, response, and resilience along our coastlines. Her work on the effects of storms on the coastal communities of our Nation has raised public awareness about the value of scientific information on coastal vulnerability, helping residents prepare for future events. She is currently acting as a Science Advisor for the Coastal and Marine Geology Program, helping to develop National programs for coastal change hazards research and applications.
Ph.D. Oceanography Oregon State University
M.S. Oceanography Oregon State University
B.S. Geology Duke University
Science and Products
Scientists evaluated and improved the accuracy of pre-landfall forecasts of storm-induced coastal erosion hazards for Northeast beaches using data from post-Sandy lidar sruveys, beach morphology, and storm hydrodamics.
This project focuses on understanding the magnitude and variability of extreme storm impacts on sandy beaches. The overall objective is to improve real-time and scenario-based predictions of coastal change to support management of coastal infrastructure, resources, and safety.
Research to identify areas that are most vulnerable to coastal change hazards including beach and dune erosion, long-term shoreline change, and sea-level rise.
Total water level (TWL) at the shoreline is the combination of tides, surge, and wave runup. A forecast of TWL is an estimate of the elevation where the ocean will meet the coast and can provide guidance on potential coastal erosion and flooding hazards.
Interactive access to coastal change science and data for our Nation’s coasts. Information and products are organized within three coastal change hazard themes: 1) extreme storms, 2) shoreline change, and 3) sea-level rise. Each data item represents an individual research product, with some items grouped together as aggregates to show the breadth of the topic and make it easy to explore.
Examples of storm impacts on barrier islands: Chapter 4
This chapter focuses on the morphologic variability of barrier islands and on the differences in storm response. It describes different types of barrier island response to individual storms, as well as the integrated response of barrier islands to many storms. The chapter considers case study on the Chandeleur Island chain, where a decadal time...Plant, Nathaniel G.; Doran, Kara S.; Stockdon, Hilary F.
Lidar-derived beach morphology (dune crest, dune toe, and shoreline) for U.S. sandy coastlines
The USGS National Assessment of Coastal Change Hazards project aims to identify areas of the nation’s coastline that are most vulnerable to extreme storms and long-term shoreline change. These assessments require coastal elevation data across diverse geographic regions and covering a time span of many years. The datasets published here,...Doran, Kara; Long, Joseph W.; Birchler, Justin; Brenner, Owen T.; Hardy, Matthew; Morgan, Karen L. M.; Stockdon, Hilary F.; Torres, Miguel Loubriel
The relative contribution of waves, tides, and nontidal residuals to extreme total water levels on U.S. West Coast sandy beaches
To better understand how individual processes combine to cause flooding and erosion events, we investigate the relative contribution of tides, waves, and nontidal residuals to extreme total water levels (TWLs) at the shoreline of U.S. West Coast sandy beaches. Extreme TWLs, defined as the observed annual maximum event and the simulated 100 ...Serafin, Katherine A.; Ruggiero, Peter; Stockdon, Hilary F.
Testing model parameters for wave‐induced dune erosion using observations from Hurricane Sandy
Models of dune erosion depend on a set of assumptions that dictate the predicted evolution of dunes throughout the duration of a storm. Lidar observations made before and after Hurricane Sandy at over 800 profiles with diverse dune elevations, widths, and volumes are used to quantify specific dune erosion model parameters including the dune face...Overbeck, Jacquelyn R.; Long, Joseph W.; Stockdon, Hilary F.
National assessment of hurricane-induced coastal erosion hazards—Gulf of Mexico update
These data sets contain information on the probabilities of hurricane-induced erosion (collision, inundation and overwash) for each 1-km section of the Gulf of Mexico coast for category 1-5 hurricanes. The analysis is based on a storm-impact scaling model that uses observations of beach morphology combined with sophisticated hydrodynamic models to...Doran, Kara; Stockdon, Hilary F.; Thompson, David M.; Birchler, Justin; Plant, Nathaniel G.; Overbeck, Jacquelyn R.
National assessment of hurricane-induced coastal erosion hazards—South Carolina to New Hampshire update
These data sets contain information on the probabilities of hurricane-induced erosion (collision, inundation and overwash) for each 1-km section of the U.S. coast for category 1–5 hurricanes. The analysis is based on a storm-impact scaling model that uses observations of beach morphology combined with sophisticated hydrodynamic models to predict...Doran, Kara; Birchler, Justin; Stockdon, Hilary F.; Thompson, David M.; Morgan, Karen L. M.; Brenner, Owen T.
Dune management challenges on developed coasts
From October 26-28, 2015, nearly 100 members of the coastal management and research communities met in Kitty Hawk, NC, USA to bridge the apparent gap between the coastal dune research of scientists and engineers and the needs of coastal management practitioners. The workshop aimed to identify the challenges involved in building and managing dunes...Elko, Nicole A.; Brodie, Kate; Stockdon, Hilary F.; Nordstrom, Karl F.; Houser, Chris; McKenna, Kim; Moore, Laura; Rosati, Julie D.; Ruggiero, Peter; Thuman, Roberta; Walker, Ian J.
National assessment of nor’easter-induced coastal erosion hazards: mid- and northeast Atlantic coast
Beaches serve as a natural buffer between the ocean and inland communities, ecosystems, and natural resources. However, these dynamic environments move and change in response to winds, waves, and currents. During extreme storms, changes to beaches can be great, and the results are sometimes catastrophic. Lives may be lost, communities destroyed,...Birchler, Justin J.; Dalyander, P. Soupy; Stockdon, Hilary F.; Doran, Kara S.
How well can wave runup be predicted? comment on Laudier et al. (2011) and Stockdon et al. (2006)
Laudier et al. (2011) suggested that there may be a systematic bias error in runup predictions using a model developed by Stockdon et al. (2006). Laudier et al. tested cases that sampled beach and wave conditions that differed from those used to develop the Stockdon et al. model. Based on our re-analysis, we found that in two of the three Laudier...Plant, Nathaniel G.; Stockdon, Hilary F.
Enhancing evaluation of post-storm morphologic response using aerial orthoimagery from Hurricane Sandy
Improved identification of morphological responses to storms is necessary for developing and maintaining predictive models of coastal change. Morphological responses to Hurricane Sandy were measured using lidar and orthophotos taken before and after the storm. Changes to dune features measured from lidar were compared to the occurrence of overwash...Smith, Jacquelyn Rose; Long, Joseph W.; Stockdon, Hilary F.; Birchler, Justin J.
Evaluation of wave runup predictions from numerical and parametric models
Wave runup during storms is a primary driver of coastal evolution, including shoreline and dune erosion and barrier island overwash. Runup and its components, setup and swash, can be predicted from a parameterized model that was developed by comparing runup observations to offshore wave height, wave period, and local beach slope. Because...Stockdon, Hilary F.; Thompson, David M.; Plant, Nathaniel G.; Long, Joseph W.
National assessment of hurricane-induced coastal erosion hazards: Northeast Atlantic Coast
Beaches serve as a natural buffer between the ocean and inland communities, ecosystems, and natural resources. However, these dynamic environments move and change in response to winds, waves, and currents. During extreme storms, changes to beaches can be great, and the results are sometimes catastrophic. Lives may be lost, communities destroyed,...Birchler, Justin J.; Stockdon, Hilary F.; Doran, Kara S.; Thompson, David M.
New USGS models help predict storm effects on beaches
As the 2016 hurricane season opens, weather forecasters, emergency managers and coastal residents have access to tools developed by the U.S. Geological Survey that predict, more precisely than ever, where beach erosion and beachfront flooding will take place during hurricanes and other storms.