In the name of science, Californians are using drones to map out El Nino and how its damaging pattern washes across the coast. It’s a way for residents of the state to become involved in one of the gravest problems of our time: global warming.
With climate change, the rising sea levels are a major issue on the minds of scientists. By 2100, it’s estimated that waters will rise an additional 4.6 feet, which would wreak havoc across numerous beach locations, including California. In fact, property damage and critical infrastructure, such as schools and highways will be at great risk, and the cost will round up at around $100 billion.
In addition, almost half a million people will be affected, according to the Pacific Institute. Beaches in California might disappear or, at the very least, become much smaller than they are today. The problems have already begun and they won’t slow down until matters discussed at the Paris climate change talk will take effect.
Until now, California residents are doing their best and will now have the ability to get involved in the serious issue. Drone owners may send out their gadgets to fly above the coastal line, map out the damaging effects of this year’s El Nino, and forward the high resolution images to The Nature Conservancy. This has reportedly been California’s wettest winter in years, so there are likely many locations struck by the hazardous weather pattern.
Images from the latest drones can provide accurate 3D maps that will be highly useful to scientists. According to Matt Merrifield, the group’s chief technology officer, this is the most accurate way possible of building a proper model of the coastline. It would be a major help in predicting flooding patterns and create a realistic model for the future.
It’s “a piece of the puzzle” that will be needed in creating a good image of potential future consequences. According to William Patzert from NASA’s Jet Propulsion Lab (JPL) it’s both an awareness campaign and a “documentary for the future”. It will aid in the creation of models of how the coastline will look in the next 100 years. Which beaches will disappear, which bluffs will crumble? It’s hard to tell.
It’s difficult to capture such a major change with perfect accuracy. Depending on the decision made at the Paris talks and everything that will result after the meeting, it is possible that a more optimistic outcome is on the horizon. However, it’s a good way to directly involve citizens and raise awareness about a serious problem that could potentially affect millions of people around the world.
Image source: bloomberg.com