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sp01u6p2 - Unit Six Detecting Coastal Change with Lasers...

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Unit Six Detecting Coastal Change with Lasers Project Oceanography Spring 2001 96 Unit VI Detecting Coastal Change with Lasers On the cutting edge… Barrier Islands provide natural protection against the destructive wind, waves, and tides that wash the shores of coastal communities. As more people reside in these areas, officials are looking for accurate and cost effective ways to assess storm damage and emergency response times. In the past, scientists have had to rely on data obtained through aerial photography and radar. Today, laser technology has provided the basis for more sophisticated instrumentation. Researchers today at the University of South Florida are on the cutting edge of science using airborne LIDAR (LIght Detection And Radar) technology to more accurately determine coastal changes due to beach erosion. This new technology gives scientists the opportunity to accurately measure eroded sand volume and observe coastal change. Modern Coastal Studies Lesson Objectives: Students will be able to do the following: Name and define the basic parts of a beach Explain airborne LIDAR (LIght Detection And Ranging) technology Discuss the importance of sand erosion and economic impact Key concepts: topography, barrier islands, beach drift, accretion, erosion, LIDAR technology Beach Morphology Beaches are an important part of the coastal topography of barrier islands . They provide an expanse of recreational area that also acts as a buffer between the ocean and the dunes. They are areas that sustain a wide variety of organisms both plant and animal in a dynamic ecosystem that responds to energy changes on an hourly basis. The beach is generally considered the area between the mean low water line and the dunes. This area is usually an expanse of relatively flat sand. The beach can be divided into two distinct regions: the foreshore and the backshore . The foreshore area is regularly affected by wave and tidal action as it slopes toward the ocean. The backshore area extends from the foreshore to the dunes. This area is rarely subject to water action except during storm surges.
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Unit Six Detecting Coastal Change with Lasers Project Oceanography Spring 2001 97 Waves affect beaches both seasonally and tidally. As waves approach the shoreline they break causing a swash. Water in a swash rushes up the beach and then washes back down the beach. This affect causes some of the beach sand to drift or move. Over time the shape of the beach begins to change as sand is moved from one place to another accumulating in some areas and eroding away in others. This phenomenon is called beach drift . A number of factors influence the sand movement on beaches including: tidal frequency, wave height and duration, wind strength, and long shore currents .
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sp01u6p2 - Unit Six Detecting Coastal Change with Lasers...

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