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Multimedia: Global Storms
Multimedia: Birth of Isabel
Hurricanes Photo Gallery Thumbnail 1 Hurricanes Photo Gallery Thumbnail 2
Hurricanes Photo Gallery Thumbnail 3 Hurricanes Photo Gallery Thumbnail 4
Hurricanes Photo Gallery Thumbnail 5 Hurricanes Photo Gallery Thumbnail 6
Photo captions by Chris Carroll
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Click on the image to restart the animated sequence of images.
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Before and After
Photographs by Abby Sallenger/U.S. Geological Survey; Tyrone Turner

Surging seawater driven by Hurricane Ivan sliced a new channel through the coastal barrier island in Pine Beach, Alabama. One house escaped destruction by a matter of feet (image 3 in the sequence above). NASA used lidar imaging (a technology that uses lasers in much the same way radar uses radio waves) to make a topographic map of this stretch of shoreline in 1998 (image 1 in the sequence above). It was created as part of a joint project with NASA, the U.S. Geological Survey, and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to gauge the effect of hurricanes on coastline. The red-topped peaks in the image represent the higher elevations of houses. But three days after Ivan (image 2 in the sequence above), a remapping by lidar shows the barrier island has been breached, connecting the Gulf of Mexico (foreground) with the bay behind. Also visible are the many new houses built since the 1998 mapping, an indication of the rapid pace of coastal development in the Southeast.
Photo Fast Facts
Camera: Nikon F100
Film Type: Fujichrome Provia 100
Lens: 17-35mm
Speed and F-Stop: 1/250 @ f/5.6

Weather Conditions: Clear
Time of Day: Late afternoon
Lighting Techniques: Available light
Special Equipment or Comments: I took this aerial from a helicopter.

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