It’s no secret that the impact of heavy waves crashing on cliffs plays a role in erosion during storms. Keeping track of the damage as well as the potential for future erosion should be high on the list of priorities for city planners with coastal communities.
However, researchers haven’t been able to study the effects of ocean wave energy separately from the force of rainfall on cliffs, which is useful in quantifying risk and determining best how to protect the public. The information can have an impact on the location and type of future residential or business construction in the area.
San Diego Scientists Use LIDAR for Assessing the Coast
Researchers at the Scripps Institution of Oceanography at UC San Diego have harnessed LIDAR technology to reveal the way waves and rain are affecting coastal cliffs. Their study appeared in Geomorphology, with funding provided by California State Parks. The information they revealed paves the way toward LIDAR mapping companies scanning cliffs for other communities for better public safety.
Examples of preventable danger include neighborhoods situated in Del Mar, California, where a railroad and neighborhoods are found along the cliff edge. Previous cliff failures due to erosion have caused multiple train derailments as well as landslides. Such events require the railroad to shut down and conduct expensive, emergency repairs.
Combining 3D imagery of the cliff and beach from a truck-mounted LIDAR device with rainfall data from a nearby weather station and computer modeling, the researchers were able to create better predictions of the amount of erosion during a particular category of storm.
Preparing Communities for Coastal Erosion With Better Data
Forecasting coastal erosion is a crucial tool in community planning and preparedness, as it can help with policy about future construction efforts as well as identify needs for better evacuation planning.
If you have questions about how your local government can harness LIDAR mapping to improve forecasting ability in monitoring cliffside erosion or other issues that affect community well-being, please connect with ACI Corporation today.