Coastal erosion is a pervasive societal problem for much of the world's shoreline. The ability to understand and predict coastal change is critical to mitigating its associated hazards. Two fundamental aspects of the USGS mission are to provide reliable scientific information to describe and understand the Earth and to minimize loss of life and property from natural disasters. The goal of the Carolina Coastal Change Processes (CCCP) Project is to investigate interactions between the shoreline, nearshore, and offshore sediment transport processes that drive coastal change in the Carolinas. To achieve this goal, CCCP will conduct geophysical surveys to investigate the goelogic framework of the region, deploy oceanographic instrumentation to measure regional physical processes, and develop physics-based models that hindcast and predict these interactions over a variety of spaital and temporal domains.
Our current understanding of coastal sediment transport and geology suggests that examining coastal processes at sub-regional (1s to 10s of km) to regional scales (100s of km) provides significant insight into coastal zone evolution. CCCP model analysis over each of these scales will incorporate geophysical survey and oceanographic observation data collected from multiple subregional study areas in the Carolinas. In addition to advancing our understanding of coastal change issues related to storm impacts, sediment budgets, and sediment transport linkages between the beach, shoreface and inner shelf in the Carolinas, CCCP research will improve our basic knowledge of coastal ocean circulation and sediment transport processes.