USGS - science for a changing world

Pacific Coastal & Marine Science Center

Coastal Processes

California Coastal Processes Studies

California's beaches and nearshore regions are valuable economic and recreational resources that also provide habitats for numerous sensitive species. During winter storms, the coast represents a potentially dangerous interface between ocean and land, nature and humans. Storms produce high waves, strong currents, and elevated sea level that can rapidly erode beaches and inundate low-lying coastal regions, damaging and/or destroying public and private infrastructure as well as stressing coastal ecosystems. Over longer-time scales (e.g. decadal), persistent erosion exacerbated by the pressures of coastal development, reduction in sediment availability and climate change, can result in severely depleted beaches. The USGS performs research along the California coast to understand the physical processes that control coastal change on time scales from individual storms to decades. These efforts help local, state, and government agencies make informed coastal management decisions that will most effectively preserve and protect this valuable resource.

Coastal Storm Modeling System (CoSMoS)

Our Coast Our Future: Climate Impacts Tool
An interactive online tool for assessing climate-change impacts along the north-central California coast

San Francisco Bay Coastal System

Santa Barbara Littoral Cell Coastal Processes Study


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Questions to: Patrick Barnard
Maintained by: Laura Zink Torresan
Page Last Modified: 3 March 2014 (lzt)