ECU Experts Develop Coastal Hazards Web Site
By Erica Plouffe Lazure
A new website developed by coastal experts at East Carolina University provides a high-tech, one-stop site for information about hurricanes, storm surges and their potential effects on the North Carolina coast.
The web site, North Carolina COastal HAZards Decision Portal (NC COHAZ), presents in a user-friendly way the latest research from members of ECU’s Institute for Coastal Science and Policy and the departments of Geological Sciences and Geography, and links to work from scientists across the state. The address for the site is http://www.coastal.geology.ecu.edu/NCCOHAZ/.
“The coast of North Carolina is at risk to a diversity of hazards, and these hazards can have major consequences for people who live, work, and recreate in areas along the coast,” said J.P. Walsh, a professor of geology at ECU. “There has been much research conducted on coastal hazards affecting North Carolina and their consequences, but information is scattered far and wide and is often hard to track down.”
Several mapping tools, that overlay satellite images of the Outer Banks with areas that are at-risk for flooding and erosion, are also available. Walsh said the maps would enable researchers, emergency managers and the public to view the areas along the coast most at-risk of suffering these hazards.
“We believe it is beneficial to have this information out and accessible where it can be considered and explored,” Walsh said.
Walsh and geology colleague Reide Corbett have teamed up with ECU geographers Tom Allen, Tom Crawford and Stephen Sanchagrin to develop the site. Support for the NC COHAZ site has been provided by grants from the State and the RENaissance Computing Institute (RENCI). The researchers are focused on a diversity of topics ranging from shoreline erosion to storm surge visualization to economic effects of hazards.
“We hope this site will improve communication and information exchange around the state,” Walsh said. “Ultimately, we are building this site to help minimize the impacts of coastal hazards on the citizens of North Carolina, and this can only be accomplished through improved sharing of knowledge, data and ideas.”