One expected impact of climate change is an increase in the frequency and severity of storms in the eastern United States. As such, many coastal communities and ecosystems are increasingly vulnerable to the detrimental impacts of coastal erosion. The CoastWatch East Coast node monitors coastal erosion by tracking in-water sediment values. This is done through the calculation of a sediment index based on the amount of red light, a strong indicator of in-water sediment, reflected from coastal waters measured by the VIIRS instrument on-board the Suomi-NPP satellite

As seen in the below sediment index images of the Mid-Atlantic coast before and after the passing of tropical storm Hermine in early September 2016, storms frequently cause coastal erosion and redistribute the coastal sediment offshore.

 

CoastWatch Sediment Index before (August 27, 2016 - left) and after the passing of tropical storm Hermine (September 6, 2016 - right). White depicts high sediment index values and blue depicts low sediment index values. Black represents areas with no data due to land or cloud cover.
CoastWatch Sediment Index before (August 27, 2016 - left) and after the passing of tropical storm Hermine (September 6, 2016 - right). White depicts high sediment index values and blue depicts low sediment index values. Black represents areas with no data due to land or cloud cover.

 

References and Related Reading

Gao, Y., Fu, J.S., Drake, J.B., Liu, Y., Lamarque, J-F. 2012. Projected changes of extreme weather events in the eastern United States based on a high resolution climate modeling system. Environmental Research Letters 7(4).

 National Research Council (NRC) Committee on Mitigating Shore Erosion along Sheltered Coasts. 2007.Mitigating Shore Erosion along Sheltered Coasts. National Academies Press, Washington, D.C, USA. ).

Wubbles, D.J., Kunkel, K., Wehner, M., Zobel, Z. 2014. Severe weather in United States under a changing climate. Earth and Space Science News 95(18): 149-150.