Tuesday, January 17, 2023

Californian Coastal Erosion

This month California has been hit by a series of atmospheric rivers. When atmospheric rivers move over land they can result in heavy and rapid rainfall. As a result of these atmospheric rivers during the first two weeks of January nearly all of California has been affected by rainfall totals from 400-600% above average values for this time of year.

The USGS has been collecting topographic data in order to examine the erosion effect of the January 2023 storms on the coastline of Santa Cruz, California. Using aerial photographs captured on January 5th, 2023 the USGS has been able to create photogrammetry data that can be used to visualize elevation change to the Santa Cruz coastline.

You can view the data on this 3D Data Viewer interactive map. On this map the point cloud data is colored to show elevation change The red areas have seen erosion and the blue areas have seen accretion. The USGS has also compiled a number of before & after visualizations of the data which compare the  coastline now to the coastline as it looked before Sept. 13, 2022. These visualizations can be viewed in the article USGS Remote Sensing Data Tracks Coastal Erosion from California Storms.

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