What are Coastal Hazards?
The Pacific Northwest coasts of Oregon and Washington are some of the most dynamic coastal landscapes in North America, evident by its long sandy beaches, shear coastal cliffs, dramatic headlands and vistas, and ultimately the power of the Pacific Ocean that serves to erode and change the shape of the coast.
It is these qualities along with its various natural resources, including timber and fishing that have drawn people to live along its narrow shores. However, the creation of this beauty comes at a price. Flooding and erosion from storms, seasonal changes in beach sand, human effects such as the building of jetties and engineering structures, and the coupled effects of an off-shore earthquake and tsunami are just a few forces that shape the landscape and create hazards. Over time, these hazards are gradually being compounded, in part due to changes in storm tracks, wave statistics, and sea level, as well as the degree of development in recent decades, enhanced to some extent by planning and land-use development practices that have not fully considered the coastal geologic hazards.
Coastal hazard mitigation is identified as a high priority for NANOOS by our users and stakeholders. In 2005, the White House’s National Science and Technology Council identified several challenges we as a nation face to reduce disaster vulnerability. NANOOS is dedicated to contributing information for three of these identified areas to assist with disaster reduction in our region:
- Providing hazard and disaster information where and when it is needed;
- Understanding the natural processes that produce hazards; and
- Promoting risk-wise behavior.
NANOOS achieves this by providing essential observations and better decision support tools for coastal managers, planners and engineers to improve coverage and accuracy. Products and information provided currently include observations and analysis of topographic beach profiles, shoreline change, nearshore bathymetry, sea level change, and waves to:
- Improve planning and response to coastal hazards;
- Assist with engineering design;
- Aid with research on climate change impacts on the coast; and
- Track shoreline change in specific communities.
Coastal Hazards Special Topics
Coastal & Marine Spatial Planning
Honshu Earthquake and Tsunami 2011
An informational page about the magnitude 9.0 earthquake that occurred off the eastern coast of Japan on March 11, 2011, and the resulting tsunami that hit the US Pacific Northwest 9 hours later.
Related NANOOS Products
Pacific Northwest Beach and Shoreline Mapping
Beach Cross-section and time-series plots of coastal change occuring on the Oregon coast due to the effects of storms, El Niños, changes in beach sediment supply, and sea level rise.
View in NVS
Southwest Washington Coastal Mapping
Beach cross-sections, time-series plots of coastal change, and information on beach sediments for the Columbia River littoral cell (Tillamook Head, OR to Pt. Grenville, WA).
Coastal Processes in the Pacific Northwest
Information on beach dynamics, waves, storms, and climate change that affect the PNW beaches, shorelines, and hazards.
Tsunami Evacuation Zones on the Oregon Coast
Oregon coast tsunami evacuation maps resutling from potentially great (magintude 9+) earthquakes on the Cascadia subduction zone.
NANOOS Visualization System (NVS)
The NANOOS Visualization System (NVS) provides easy access to forecast and observation data across a wide range of assets such as buoys, shore and land stations, high-frequency radar, and satellites.
Significant Wave Height & Direction and Wind Speed & Direction forecasts for the Pacific NW. Forecasts are updated every 6 hours starting at 13:00 PDT.
Product Page | View in NVS
Daily average ocean surface currents off the Oregon coast. These surface currents are measured with a radio transmitter and receiver using an instrument, the SeaSonde, made by CODAR Ocean Sensors.
Product Page | View in NVS
NANOOS members involved in this effort include: