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Continental-Scale Coastal Survey Shows... El Nino Winter Leaves Monsoon’s Sand Signature
Released: 10/25/1998

Contact Information:
U.S. Department of the Interior, U.S. Geological Survey
Office of Communication
119 National Center
Reston, VA 20192
Diane Noserale 1-click interview
Phone: 703-648-4333, In Toronto: 416-585-3706 | FAX: 703-648-6859

Observers of last winter’s El Nino storms along the Pacific Coast who might have compared the intense rainfall to a monsoon were not far off the mark. U.S. Geological Survey scientist Dr. N. Terence Edgar and M. Dennis Krohn will review pre- and post-El Nino aerial surveys that show how El Nino behaved like a monsoon and will explain how this information may change our evaluation of coastal areas at risk from El Nino storms at the Annual Meeting of the Geological Society of America scheduled for Oct. 25-29 in Toronto, Canada.

"While we do not want to over run our headlights, we see remarkable similarities to the sedimentation patterns of rivers in the monsoon climates of the Indian Ocean," says Edgar. "An overview of the photo pairs shows notable deposits of sand at the mouths of rivers and bays, contrary to the erosion pattern we had anticipated," remarked Edgar.

The surveys, a cooperative effort between the USGS, NASA, and NOAA, include aerial photos and laser surveys. They cover 1000 kilometers of the U.S. Pacific Coast, including portions of California, Oregon, and Washington.

"Effects of 1997-1998 El Nino Storms on the Pacific Coast: Coastal Sediment Accumulation" (poster) is scheduled for 1:30 -5:30 pm Tuesday, Oct 27 Metro Toronto Convention Center Hall-E. Photo pairs can be viewed on the Internet at: http://coastal.er.usgs.gov/response.

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