USGS scientists, in partnership with NASA, develop new extreme-storm hazards

May 03, 2001

USGS scientists, with their partners in NASA, using data gathered by a high-tech, airplane mounted NASA laser, have developed a new map showing critical elevations of the south Atlantic coast that indicate relative vulnerabilities of the coast to storm surge overtopping and inundation by hurricanes and extreme storms. They have also developed a new scale that categorizes expected coastal change (erosion and accretion) that occurs during storms.

The map and scale, which were unveiled in April at the National Hurricane Conference in Washington, D.C., are now available on the web at: The map color-codes segments of shoreline most vulnerable to overtopping by wave runup for a storm of the same intensity hitting the coast at approximately mean tide level. The dark red areas are more likely to be overtopped. The magnitude of coastal change that occurs during a storm is related to how high on the beach wave runup reaches relative to the elevation of the beach and dunes.

The data were acquired with NASA's Airborne Topographic Mapper, or ATM, and have far better accuracy and data density than data presently available from traditional topographic maps.

"Our ultimate goal is to provide sound, scientific information on where hazardous areas occur along the coast so that better decisions can be made on how far back new structures should be set from eroding shorelines," said USGS Coastal Geologist Abby Sallenger, one of the map's creators. "Accurate measurements of coastal topography are important to understanding coastal vulnerability to storms. This map is a first step. The map would have been nearly impossible to put together using data from traditional means of beach surveying."

As the aircraft flies along the coast, a laser altimeter scans a several hundred meter swath of the earth's surface acquiring an estimate of ground elevation every few square meters. USGS and NASA scientists measure change by comparing pre-storm to post-storm data. Traditional USGS topographic maps do not have sufficient resolution to be useful for comparing coastal elevations. Airborne scanning laser surveys are providing unprecedented data to investigate the magnitude and causes of coastal changes that occur during severe storms.

In the future, similar maps will be made for the Gulf of Mexico and Northeast US coastlines, said Sallenger.

The USGS serves the nation by providing reliable scientific information to: describe and understand the Earth; minimize loss of life and property from natural disasters; manage water, biological, energy, and mineral resources; and enhance and protect our quality of life.

US Geological Survey

Related Data Articles from Brightsurf:

Keep the data coming
A continuous data supply ensures data-intensive simulations can run at maximum speed.

Astronomers are bulging with data
For the first time, over 250 million stars in our galaxy's bulge have been surveyed in near-ultraviolet, optical, and near-infrared light, opening the door for astronomers to reexamine key questions about the Milky Way's formation and history.

Novel method for measuring spatial dependencies turns less data into more data
Researcher makes 'little data' act big through, the application of mathematical techniques normally used for time-series, to spatial processes.

Ups and downs in COVID-19 data may be caused by data reporting practices
As data accumulates on COVID-19 cases and deaths, researchers have observed patterns of peaks and valleys that repeat on a near-weekly basis.

Data centers use less energy than you think
Using the most detailed model to date of global data center energy use, researchers found that massive efficiency gains by data centers have kept energy use roughly flat over the past decade.

Storing data in music
Researchers at ETH Zurich have developed a technique for embedding data in music and transmitting it to a smartphone.

Life data economics: calling for new models to assess the value of human data
After the collapse of the blockchain bubble a number of research organisations are developing platforms to enable individual ownership of life data and establish the data valuation and pricing models.

Geoscience data group urges all scientific disciplines to make data open and accessible
Institutions, science funders, data repositories, publishers, researchers and scientific societies from all scientific disciplines must work together to ensure all scientific data are easy to find, access and use, according to a new commentary in Nature by members of the Enabling FAIR Data Steering Committee.

Democratizing data science
MIT researchers are hoping to advance the democratization of data science with a new tool for nonstatisticians that automatically generates models for analyzing raw data.

Getting the most out of atmospheric data analysis
An international team including researchers from Kanazawa University used a new approach to analyze an atmospheric data set spanning 18 years for the investigation of new-particle formation.

Read More: Data News and Data Current Events is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to