If a beach erodes on the Cape and someone is there to record it…

…it definitely makes a sound.

Here at Woods Hole Group, we routinely measure shoreline change from visual observations of the high water line position through time.  We are data-driven and visually-focused.  But in the age of distributed sensors and crowdsourcing, it’s always interesting to think about new ways to sense and monitor shoreline change.

Berklee College of Music professor Steve Wilkes started the Hear Cape Cod project, which aims to capture the indigenous sounds of Cape Cod in an “aural time capsule”, after the severe nor’easters of 2009 left a wake of erosion and property damage that got him thinking about what the Cape would sound like in 50 years.  Climatide’s Heather Goldstone makes an interesting connection to the field of coastal management:

Could sea level rise change the sounds of the shore? Certainly, waves sound different hitting sand or a hard rock wall. But what is the sound of waves lapping away at the footings of a cottage? Or pummeling a roadway?

Could a trained ear such as Steve Wilkes’ pick out (and even quantify?) the difference in wave energy and erosive force just by listening to the beach?  Fascinating to think about the less obvious ways in which we can perceive change in the environment.

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This entry was posted in coastal erosion, environment, habitat, ocean, sea-level rise, shoreline erosion and tagged , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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