Observing and measuring climate change can be a formidable challenge, especially when we’re tasked with measuring these changes over time. Tracking long term change, from rising sea levels to shifting ocean currents, requires significant investments: of time, money, and people-power. We know that the climate isn’t changing overnight, but has been slowly shifting over the course of years and decades. We also need to collect more data to help us predict what changes might be coming down the road.
Coastal communities like Boston are in urgent need of this data, as climate change threats are (literally) at our doorstep. How fast are our coasts eroding? How do our coasts change after storms? At the Lab, we have a team of researchers who are working to answer these questions – but they can only be in so many places at a time!
We’re harnessing the power of crowdsourcing to get more data about coastal change at our research sites. In partnership with Chronolog, we are mounting photostations at the UMass Boston campus and two at Duxbury’s Powder Point Bridge. These photostations allow anyone, from dog walkers to kite surfers, to take a photo of our site and add it to a long-term timelapse. Over weeks, months, and years, we hope to collect thousands of images at these sites to paint a picture of coastal change over time. These images will enhance our understanding of the coastal dynamics at our sites, involve residents and visitors in our research, and create a living resource for scientists, decisionmakers, and community members for years to come.