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Visiting Scientist from Japan Collaborating on Shoreline-Change Research



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Coastal engineer Masayuki Banno is spending a year-long sabbatical with the USGS Pacific Coastal and Marine Science Center in Santa Cruz, California. He is working with the coastal-change group, led by research geologist Patrick Barnard, using their beach-survey data to test and improve his model for predicting how beaches will respond to sea-level rise and changing storm-wave patterns.

Photo of the scientist on the beach wearing an equipment backpack on a cold day.
Above: Masayuki Banno helps with a USGS beach survey in northern Monterey Bay on February 28, 2018. His backpack contains a precision GPS receiver for measuring beach elevations. Photo credit: Joshua Logan, USGS. [larger version]

Since 2009, Masayuki has been a research scientist with Japan’s Port and Airport Research Institute (PARI), a government agency similar to the USGS. While working with PARI, he earned a Ph.D. degree in engineering from Kyushu University, awarded in 2016. Masayuki is stationed at the agency’s headquarters in Yokosuka and commutes once a week to its Hazaki Oceanographical Research Station on the Hasaki coast, a 16-kilometer (10-mile) stretch along the Pacific Ocean (see map, below). As a senior researcher in PARI’s Coastal and Estuarine Sediment Dynamics Group, he studies short-term beach response to waves, as well as processes that drive long-term coastal change.

Collaged image showing location and detailed graphic maps of the Hazaki Research Station in Japan; and 2 photos of the pier: closeup, and long distance
Above: Clockwise from top: Two maps showing location of PARI headquarters (Yokosuka) and the Hazaki Oceanographical Research Station (HORS). Aerial photograph of the station’s pier, which extends nearly 400 meters (1,300 feet) into the Pacific Ocean. Photograph of station personnel lowering a lead-weight line from the pier to measure the depth of the sandy seafloor below. Figure credit: Masayuki Banno, PARI. [larger version]

Among Masayuki’s recent projects is the development of a mathematical model for predicting shoreline change, which he calibrated with data from a long-term study at the Hazaki Oceanographical Research Station. The station includes a pier about 400 meters (1,300 feet) long. In 1986, station personnel began measuring the beach profile along the pier every workday; in April 2011, the interval was changed to once a week. To measure depths to the sand beneath the water, the scientists lower a lead-weight line from the pier (see photo). They use a surveyor’s level and staff to measure sand elevations on the shore. This study continues to produce a rich dataset documenting changes to the beach’s shape and the position of its shoreline.

Masayuki used this dataset as he developed his shoreline-change model, which accounts for the effects of both waves and sea-level rise. Then he used the model to project future shoreline change on the Hasaki coast under various scenarios of sea-level rise and changes in wave patterns expected from global climate change. The model forecasts that, on average, the shoreline will move landward about 30 meters (100 feet) by the year 2095. Additionally, waves will reach higher elevations, and erosion will be more severe than at present.

These findings are specific to the Hasaki coast. Masayuki’s goal at the USGS is to use data from other beaches to generalize the model so it can project shoreline change on various coasts around the globe and help communities plan for climate change. He is working, for example, with measurements that Patrick Barnard’s team has been collecting since 2004 from San Francisco’s Ocean Beach during regular onshore and nearshore mapping surveys.

Photo of a scientist on an ATV at the beach on a rainy day
Above: Jeff Hansen on an all-terrain vehicle (ATV) at Ocean Beach, San Francisco, in 2006. The ATV is equipped with instruments that record beach topography. Photo credit: Patrick Barnard, USGS. [larger version]

Masayuki and Patrick have worked together before; Masayuki was a co-author on a Nature Geoscience paper led by Barnard that drew on data from around the Pacific Ocean—including the long-term study at the Hazaki Oceanographical Research Station—to show that El Niño and La Niña events are the dominant force behind coastal erosion and flooding hazards across the entire Pacific region.

“Masayuki is a talented young researcher who is developing cutting-edge shoreline-change models through collaborations worldwide, including common colleagues in Australia and France,” says Patrick. “Our work together is part of the Coastal Climate Impacts project’s ongoing effort to bring the best and brightest researchers together to ensure we are developing the most robust scientific products possible.”

Photo of man with 2 children on a beach on a sunny day
Above: Masayuki Banno and his kids at a beach in Santa Cruz, California. Photo credit: USGS. [larger version]

Masayuki and his family will be in Santa Cruz until September.

Related Sound Waves Stories
Disappearing Beaches: Modeling Shoreline Change in Southern California
May 2017

Related Websites
Coastal Climate Impacts
USGS
3-D Beach Mapping
USGS
Coastal vulnerability across the Pacific dominated by El Niño/Southern Oscillation
Nature Geoscience paper
El Niño and La Niña Will Exacerbate Coastal Hazards across Entire Pacific
USGS News
Coastal Storm Modeling System (CoSMoS)
USGS

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USGS Deploys Oceanographic Gear near Matanzas Inlet, Florida

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