Exposing the U.S. coastal zone
Article first published online: 3 JUN 2011
©1999. American Geophysical Union. All Rights Reserved.
Eos, Transactions American Geophysical Union
Volume 80, Issue 4, pages 37–42, 26 January 1999
How to Cite
1999), Exposing the U.S. coastal zone, Eos Trans. AGU, 80(4), 37–42, doi:10.1029/99EO00026., , , , , , , , and (
- Issue published online: 3 JUN 2011
- Article first published online: 3 JUN 2011
Overdevelopment of shores and wetlands, dwindling sites on land for the disposal of human-generated waste, contamination of estuaries and nearshore sediments, the disruption of coastal-water ecosystems by dredging, and the specter of rising sea level due to anthropogenically induced global warming are but a few of the pressures humans are exerting on coastal environments around the world. In the United States, a lot is riding on the response of its coastal environments to these pressures. The majority of the U.S. population resides in the coastal states, where the country's largest cities and most popular recreation areas are located.
If the United States is to sustain the health and beauty of its coastal environments, then they must be managed, not only on the federal scale, but also on the state and local scales. One of the most fundamental types of data required to conduct this management will be detailed elevation data. On land, topography dictates the flow of water and the maximum extent of flooding. Offshore, bathymetry is a major control on shallow-water ocean currents and the dissemination of sediments eroded from the continent.