New meteorology tools like satellite data are helping scientists to keep environmental disasters from being a surprise. Measuring coastal changes - from disasters, to rising sea levels caused by global warming, or even the daily pounding of waves upon the seashore - is laborious if done on the ground, and is better done by air. Compounding the problem is that the coastline is forever changing - mostly because of human development. Our program looks at how scientists are mapping coastal erosion patterns using a variety of techniques, including planes, satellites and infrared detection, then using that information to predict impact. We take you up in a small plane with a laser as it maps the North Carolina coast post-hurricane season, then to a town on the West Coast that is literally sliding into the Pacific Ocean.
Carving the Coastline was produced by Bill Drummond, as part of the series "Exploring Space Science", Funded in part by the National Science Foundation, with additional support from NASA, WABE-FM, WAMU-FM, and the Morehouse School of Medicine. In the summer of 2000 FEMA released a report revealing the results of a six year study on coastal erosion. The study was conducted by John H. Heinz II Center for Science, Economics and the Environment. They said that in the next 60 years one of four houses within 200 feet of a U.S. shoreline will become a casualty of erosion. The study recommended that Congress instruct FEMA to make and distribute details erosion maps and suggest that erosion hazards should be included in federal flood insurance.
Wave Patterns Point to Coastal Erosion
A model that shows why certain parts of a North Carolina barrier island erode faster than others has been developed by a University of Arkansas professor and his colleague; the model may help scientists pinpoint the causes of other problem areas.
USGS News and Information on El Nino
Find out El Nino's impact on floods, landslides, coastal hazards, and climate.
Erosion Teaching Resources
Supplies a list of links to sites that could be used as teaching materials. Sites are designated as teacher or student resources.
Read articles about space science, earth science and astrology.
USGS-Coastal Erosion Along the U.S. West Coast
Learn more about NASA's study of the impact of the 1997-98 El Niņo.
National Estuary Program
Estuaries are places where rivers meet the sea. Estuaries are critical to the health of coastal environments and to our enjoyment of them.
The North Carolina Shore and Its Barrier Islands: Restless Ribbons of Sand
Orrin H. Pilkey Deborah Pilkey Craig A. Webb
Erosion and Sedimentation
Pierre Y. Julien
Bayocean: The Oregon Town That Fell into the Sea: (Documentary - Coastal Erosion)
Bert Webber Margie Webber
Against the Tide: The Battle for America's Beaches