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Pacific Coastal and Marine Science Center

Using Video Imagery to Study Coastal Change

Whidbey Island, Washington

Rippled, wet sand with a small, calm pond of ocean water and mossy stones, rocks, and boulders of all sizes; cliff in background has trees and grass.

View of beach on Whidbey Island, looking south. Photo by Shawn Harrison, USGS, taken May 19, 2018 [Larger version]

Rippled, wet sand with a small, calm pond of ocean water and mossy stones, rocks, and boulders of all sizes; cliff in background has trees and grass.

View of beach on Whidbey Island, looking north. Photo by Eric Grossman, USGS, taken May 19, 2018 [Larger version]

Video cameras overlook the coast along a beach on Whidbey Island, Island County at the northern boundary of Puget Sound in western Washington. The cameras are part of the Remote Sensing Coastal Change project, supporting:

The study area has some of the highest rates of coastal bluff retreat in Puget Sound. An interagency team led by the USGS is researching how extreme-storm water levels and waves affect bluff erosion and the movement of sediment along beaches. The video-based remote-sensing tools measure storm water levels, waves, currents, and beach, and bluff changes to property, infrastructure, and habitats. The data are initially being used to examine sediment transport that affects habitats for valued juvenile salmon, forage fish, and shellfish. In particular, the research is evaluating the extent that waves and sediment modify habitat complexity and its role in wave runup as well as shellfish biomass and diversity. Ultimately, the research will help guide and improve numerical model predictions of coastal and habitat change associated with sea-level rise, storms, and waves to inform resilience planning.

Every half hour during daylight hours, the cameras collect snapshots and video for 10 minutes. Today’s most recent images are shown below. Please note that it takes 10 minutes for the images to be posted, once they are collected by the camera.

Currently, video cameras are installed:

These and other images are used to remotely sense a range of processes, including:

USGS plans to install similar systems in other U.S. locations. The knowledge gained will improve computer-derived simulations of shoreline change that communities can use to plan for sea-level rise, changing storm patterns, and other threats to beaches.

Please note: If old photos are displayed, cameras may be temporarily offline.

Snapshot
first frame of the video, just like a standard photo
Camera 1
Most recent snapshot from camera one.
  Camera 2
Most recent snapshot from camera two.
Timex (Time-Exposure)
time-averaged image of all frames over 10 minutes smooths away surface waves and
helps determine the location of persistent wave-breaking (indicative of shallow sandbars)
Camera 1
Most recent time-averaged image.
  Camera 2
Most recent time-averaged image.
Variance Image
standard deviation of pixel intensity throughout the video frames,
useful for determining how much variation or movement is occurring at a given location
Camera 1
Most recent variance image from camera one.
  Camera 2
Most recent variance image from camera two.
Bright Image
brightest pixel values at each location throughout the video,
useful for identifying the position of maximum wave run-up on the beach,
position of all breaking waves, and sea-state
Camera 1
Most recent bright image from camera one.
  Camera 2
Most recent bright image from camera two.
Dark Image
darkest pixel values at each location throughout the video,
useful for tracking sediment plumes, tracking floating debris, and
filtering out breaking waves
Camera 1
Most recent dark image from camera one.
  Camera 2
Most recent dark image from camera two.

This information is preliminary or provisional and is subject to revision. It is being provided to meet the need for timely best science. The information has not received final approval by the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) and is provided on the condition that neither the USGS nor the U.S. Government shall be held liable for any damages resulting from the authorized or unauthorized use of the information. For more information, please contact Shawn Harrison (srharrison@usgs.gov).

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U.S. Department of the Interior | U.S. Geological Survey
URL: https://walrus.wr.usgs.gov/whidbey
Page Contact Information: Laura Zink Torresan
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