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Coastal Erosion Studies Supported with Lidar

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Coastal Erosion Studied From Space

The National Aeronautics and Space Administration has tapped researchers at UC Irvine and the University of Houston to develop a means of monitoring coastal erosion of local beaches and dunes by satellite.

From an article in the Daily Pilot by Lilly Nguyen.

University officials in Irvine announced earlier this month that researchers have received a $675,000 grant from NASA that will be divided between both universities. Approximately $350,000 will go to the Irvine campus for what is expected to be a three-year project to support graduate students, researchers and the cost of some of the equipment used in the study.

UCI professor of civil and environmental engineering Brett Sanders said the project aims to use satellites to examine the distribution — height, width and volume — of sand on local beaches.

Sanders said there are existing ground-based methods of analyzing sand distribution, but some can be prohibitively expensive. Currently, beaches are monitored by way of surveying, LIDAR scanning and drone photography.

Those methods, however, are limited to one beach at a time.

“You might get a mile stretch of Huntington Beach or part of Newport Beach, but you can’t really do everything all at once,” said Sanders. “So, we have really patchy [existing] data on where sand is, how it’s changing and where we are losing it the fastest. We don’t know; so, we’re working with NASA to see if we can see it from a space-based platform.”

Sanders said the impetus for the project was the ongoing erosion occurring up and down California’s coast. Earlier this year, the state provided $15.5 million in funds for a sand replenishment project at Huntington and Newport beaches.

Other cities like San Clemente have seen some of the worst coastal erosion, and officials there adopted a Coastal Resiliency Plan in December to address the potential future consequences of sea level rise.

For the complete article on coastal erosion CLICK HERE.

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