Global and local communities recognize the heightened environmental susceptibility and human vulnerability of coastal zones to anthropogenic and natural forces, such as sea level rise, degraded water quality, storm surge, subsidence, and extreme weather. In response to these challenges, the Committee on Earth Observation Satellites (CEOS) Coastal Observations Applications Services and Tools (COAST) Ad Hoc Team, which formed in 2019, aims to build capacity for more robust support of coastal stakeholders and global sustainable development from end-to-end (observations to data to products to information to actionable knowledge).
The NASA DEVELOP National Program, part of NASA’s Applied Sciences Program, works in an overlapping space that focuses on workforce development. Over the past 23 years, the program has engaged numerous partner organizations in coastal communities across the United States and the globe to support decision-making in vulnerable coastal zones. The DEVELOP project model involves co-developing feasibility studies that apply NASA Earth observations and other data to address the concerns of partner organizations. DEVELOP projects are conducted by diverse, interdisciplinary teams of current students, recent graduates, and transitioning career professionals, who work with science advisors at NASA and partner organizations over the course of ten weeks to listen to the needs of partner organizations, explore the community’s concerns using Earth observations (EO) and related data, and deliver products, such as geospatial analyses and tools, that can help inform the partners decisions and future work. The DEVELOP model applies to a wide range of thematic projects and partner types, but all work centers around collaborative discovery and a shared passion for service.
Since 2019, when the CEOS COAST Ad Hoc Team formed, the NASA DEVELOP Program has conducted 18 related feasibility studies that fall within COAST’s thematic scope and support the initiative’s goal of connecting data to decisions. This represents about 10-15% of the DEVELOP program’s annual portfolio, which demonstrates the demand for data and tools that can aid coastal decision makers. These DEVELOP projects cover topics such as mapping shoreline delineation and change, characterizing water quality parameters, measuring health and extent of mangroves and coral reefs, mapping algal blooms and submerged aquatic vegetation, analyzing health and extent of wetlands and marshes, and quantifying turbidity and sediment transport in coastal zones. As a snapshot of the intersection between COAST’s global efforts and DEVELOP’s local initiatives, this abstract presents case studies from DEVELOP’s work in the context of COAST’s two pilot projects: “Sea to Land Impacts,” with a focus on physical forcing; and “Land to Sea Impacts,” which includes biological, biogeochemical, and ecological responses. Special focus will be given to DEVELOP’s impact on the user end of the value chain, which answers COAST and DEVELOP’s shared goal of leveraging EO for societal benefit.