Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

New England, Mid-Atlantic beaches eroding, losing 1. 6 feet per year on average

Date:
February 23, 2011
Source:
United States Geological Survey
Summary:
An assessment of coastal change over the past 150 years has found 68 percent of beaches in the New England and Mid-Atlantic region are eroding, according to a new report. Scientists studied 650 miles of the New England and Mid-Atlantic coasts and found the average rate of coastal change was negative 1.6 feet per year. Of those beaches eroding, the most extreme case exceeded 60 feet per year.

New England beach cottage, overlooking the dunes and the beach.
Credit: iStockphoto/Jo Ann Snover

An assessment of coastal change over the past 150 years has found 68 percent of beaches in the New England and Mid-Atlantic region are eroding, according to a U.S. Geological Survey report.

Related Articles


Scientists studied more than 650 miles of the New England and Mid-Atlantic coasts and found the average rate of coastal change -- taking into account beaches that are both eroding and prograding -- was negative 1.6 feet per year. Of those beaches eroding, the most extreme case exceeded 60 feet per year.

The past 25 to 30 years saw a small reduction in the percentage of beaches eroding -- dropping to 60 percent, possibly as a result of beach restoration activities such as adding sand to beaches.

"This report provides invaluable objective data to help scientists and managers better understand natural changes to and human impacts on the New England and Mid-Atlantic coasts," said Anne Castle, Assistant Secretary of the Interior for Water and Science. "The information gathered can inform decisions about future land use, transportation corridors, and restoration projects."

Beaches change in response to a variety of factors, including changes in the amount of available sand, storms, sea-level rise and human activities. How much a beach is eroding or prograding in any given location is due to some combination of these factors, which vary from place to place.

The Mid-Atlantic coast -- from Long Island, N.Y. to the Virginia-North Carolina border -- is eroding at higher average rates than the New England coast. The difference in the type of coastline, with sandy areas being more vulnerable to erosion than areas with a greater concentration of rocky coasts, was the primary factor.

The researchers found that, although coastal change is highly variable, the majority of the coast is eroding throughout both regions, indicating erosion hazards are widespread.

"There is increasing need for this kind of comprehensive assessment in all coastal environments to guide managed response to sea-level rise," said Dr. Cheryl Hapke of the USGS, lead author of the new report. "It is very difficult to predict what may happen in the future without a solid understanding of what has happened in the past."

The researchers used historical data sources such as maps and aerial photographs, as well as modern data like lidar, or "light detection and ranging," to measure shoreline change at more than 21,000 locations.

This analysis of past and present trends of shoreline movement is designed to allow for future repeatable analyses of shoreline movement, coastal erosion, and land loss. The results of the study provide a baseline for coastal change information that can be used to inform a wide variety of coastal management decisions, Hapke said.

The report, titled "National Assessment of Shoreline Change: Historical Shoreline Change along the New England and Mid-Atlantic Coasts," is the fifth report produced as part of the USGS's National Assessment of Shoreline Change project. An accompanying report that provides the geographic information system (GIS) data used to conduct the coastal change analysis is being released simultaneously.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by United States Geological Survey. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Hapke, C.J., Himmelstoss, E.A., Kratzmann, M., List, J.H., and Thieler, E.R., 2010. National assessment of shoreline change; historical shoreline change along the New England and Mid-Atlantic coasts. U.S. Geological Survey Open-File Report 2010-1118, 2010 [link]

Cite This Page:

United States Geological Survey. "New England, Mid-Atlantic beaches eroding, losing 1. 6 feet per year on average." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 23 February 2011. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/02/110223154430.htm>.
United States Geological Survey. (2011, February 23). New England, Mid-Atlantic beaches eroding, losing 1. 6 feet per year on average. ScienceDaily. Retrieved December 21, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/02/110223154430.htm
United States Geological Survey. "New England, Mid-Atlantic beaches eroding, losing 1. 6 feet per year on average." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/02/110223154430.htm (accessed December 21, 2014).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Earth & Climate News

Sunday, December 21, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Raw: Lava Inches Closer to Highway

Raw: Lava Inches Closer to Highway

AP (Dec. 21, 2014) — Officials have opened a new road on Hawaii's Big Island for drivers to take care of their daily needs if encroaching lava from Kilauea Volcano crosses a highway and cuts them off from the rest of the island. (Dec. 20) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Raw: Scuba Diving Santa Off Florida Keys

Raw: Scuba Diving Santa Off Florida Keys

AP (Dec. 20, 2014) — A scuba diving Santa Claus explored the waters of the Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary. Dive shop owner Spencer Slate makes the dive each year to help raise money for charity. (Dec. 20) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Obama: Better Ways to Create Jobs Than Keystone Pipeline

Obama: Better Ways to Create Jobs Than Keystone Pipeline

AFP (Dec. 19, 2014) — US President Barack Obama says that construction of the Keystone pipeline would have 'very little impact' on US gas prices and believes there are 'more direct ways' to create construction jobs. Duration: 00:47 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Raw: Lava on Track to Hit Hawaii Market

Raw: Lava on Track to Hit Hawaii Market

AP (Dec. 19, 2014) — Lava from an active volcano on Hawaii's Big Island slowed slightly but stayed on track to hit a shopping center in the small town of Pahoa. (Dec. 19) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
 
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:  

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories

 

Plants & Animals

Earth & Climate

Fossils & Ruins

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:  

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile iPhone Android Web
Follow Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins