Henderson Rachel E.

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Rachel E.

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  • Article
    UAS-SfM for coastal research : geomorphic feature extraction and land cover classification from high-resolution elevation and optical imagery
    (MDPI AG, 2017-10-03) Sturdivant, Emily ; Lentz, Erika E. ; Thieler, E. Robert ; Farris, Amy S. ; Weber, Kathryn M. ; Remsen, David P. ; Miner, Simon ; Henderson, Rachel E.
    The vulnerability of coastal systems to hazards such as storms and sea-level rise is typically characterized using a combination of ground and manned airborne systems that have limited spatial or temporal scales. Structure-from-motion (SfM) photogrammetry applied to imagery acquired by unmanned aerial systems (UAS) offers a rapid and inexpensive means to produce high-resolution topographic and visual reflectance datasets that rival existing lidar and imagery standards. Here, we use SfM to produce an elevation point cloud, an orthomosaic, and a digital elevation model (DEM) from data collected by UAS at a beach and wetland site in Massachusetts, USA. We apply existing methods to (a) determine the position of shorelines and foredunes using a feature extraction routine developed for lidar point clouds and (b) map land cover from the rasterized surfaces using a supervised classification routine. In both analyses, we experimentally vary the input datasets to understand the benefits and limitations of UAS-SfM for coastal vulnerability assessment. We find that (a) geomorphic features are extracted from the SfM point cloud with near-continuous coverage and sub-meter precision, better than was possible from a recent lidar dataset covering the same area; and (b) land cover classification is greatly improved by including topographic data with visual reflectance, but changes to resolution (when <50 cm) have little influence on the classification accuracy.
  • Article
    Characterizing storm response and recovery using the beach change envelope : Fire Island, New York
    (Elsevier, 2017-08-03) Brenner, Owen T. ; Lentz, Erika E. ; Hapke, Cheryl J. ; Henderson, Rachel E. ; Wilson, Kat E. ; Nelson, Timothy R.
    Hurricane Sandy at Fire Island, New York presented unique challenges in the quantification of storm impacts using traditional metrics of coastal change, wherein measured changes (shoreline, dune crest, and volume change) did not fully reflect the substantial changes in sediment redistribution following the storm. We used a time series of beach profile data at Fire Island, New York to define a new contour-based morphologic change metric, the Beach Change Envelope (BCE). The BCE quantifies changes to the upper portion of the beach likely to sustain measurable impacts from storm waves and capture a variety of storm and post-storm beach states. We evaluated the ability of the BCE to characterize cycles of beach change by relating it to a conceptual beach recovery regime, and demonstrated that BCE width and BCE height from the profile time series correlate well with established stages of recovery. We also investigated additional applications of this metric to capture impacts from storms and human modification by applying it to several post-storm historical datasets in which impacts varied considerably; Nor'Ida (2009), Hurricane Irene (2011), Hurricane Sandy (2012), and a 2009 community replenishment. In each case, the BCE captured distinctive upper beach morphologic change characteristic of these different beach building and erosional events. Analysis of the beach state at multiple profile locations showed spatial trends in recovery consistent with recent morphologic island evolution, which other studies have linked with sediment availability and the geologic framework. Ultimately we demonstrate a new way of more effectively characterizing beach response and recovery cycles to evaluate change along sandy coasts.
  • Article
    Decoupling processes and scales of shoreline morphodynamics
    (Elsevier, 2016-08-24) Hapke, Cheryl J. ; Plant, Nathaniel G. ; Henderson, Rachel E. ; Schwab, William C. ; Nelson, Timothy R.
    Behavior of coastal systems on time scales ranging from single storm events to years and decades is controlled by both small-scale sediment transport processes and large-scale geologic, oceanographic, and morphologic processes. Improved understanding of coastal behavior at multiple time scales is required for refining models that predict potential erosion hazards and for coastal management planning and decision-making. Here we investigate the primary controls on shoreline response along a geologically-variable barrier island on time scales resolving extreme storms and decadal variations over a period of nearly one century. An empirical orthogonal function analysis is applied to a time series of shoreline positions at Fire Island, NY to identify patterns of shoreline variance along the length of the island. We establish that there are separable patterns of shoreline behavior that represent response to oceanographic forcing as well as patterns that are not explained by this forcing. The dominant shoreline behavior occurs over large length scales in the form of alternating episodes of shoreline retreat and advance, presumably in response to storms cycles. Two secondary responses include long-term response that is correlated to known geologic variations of the island and the other reflects geomorphic patterns with medium length scale. Our study also includes the response to Hurricane Sandy and a period of post-storm recovery. It was expected that the impacts from Hurricane Sandy would disrupt long-term trends and spatial patterns. We found that the response to Sandy at Fire Island is not notable or distinguishable from several other large storms of the prior decade.