California Residents Use Drones to Document Erosion of CoastRaymond Billings (Author) Published Date : Jan 26, 2016 17:43 ET
Forget about the selfies. Residents of California are using drones and their smartphones to document the changing face of the coastline.
Starting in January, the Nature Conservancy has asked tech junkies to film the coastal erosion and flooding that comes with the weather pattern El Nino that is bringing California its wettest winter in many years.
The thought is crowd-sourced, images of flooded beaches and storm surges will give the scientists studying the phenomenon a brief window into what is in store for the future, as the sea levels begin to rise due to global warming.
Image from the most recent drones, which can produce 3D high-resolution maps will be useful and will help the scientists to determine if predictive models of coastal flooding are turning out accurate.
Experts on global warming and climate change have agreed that the storms fueled by El Nino offered a slight peak into the future and said the project was a way to raise awareness amongst the public.
Because of its being crowd sourced in nature, they have cautioned that the experiment might not yield results that organizers hoped for, but any additional information is quite useful, they stressed.
In California, close to $100 billion in property, 500,000 people and critical types of infrastructure like power plants, schools and highways will be falling under a risk of flooding during major storms if the level of the sea increases another 4.6 feet. That is a figure that could be a reality as early as 2100, says a report from back in 2009 by the Pacific Institute.
Beaches that are taken for granted by Californians would become far smaller while some will disappear completely and the storms driven by El Nino will have an effect that is similar, only temporarily, though.
What this mapping will not predict are the beaches that will disappear and the bluffs that will crumble, all things, which will affect the impact of the flooding on the coastal populations.
California Residents Use Drones to Document Erosion of Coast