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Sea Level Anomolies Cause Extensive Erosion at NC Beaches

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Stephen Fegley
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Officials in North Topsail Beach called a special meeting just last week to address the loss of 900 feet of dunes.  It’s thought that winter storms and two hurricanes are the cause of erosion.  But there may be another contributor.  A team of researchers at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill’s Institute of Marine Sciences recently published results of a multi year study conducted in Onslow County that found sea level anomalies, or periods of higher-than-normal water levels, can cause extensive erosion.   This week, I spoke with Ph. D Student Ethan Theuerkauf about the study and the impact sea level anomalies have to our beaches.

The study was conducted by Ethan J. Theuerkauf, Antonio B. Rodriguez, Stephen R. Fegley and Richard A. Luettich Jr.  http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/2014GL060544/abstract

These photos show Onslow Beach in 2009 when it was being impacted by frequent sea level anomalies.

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Credit Stephen Fegley
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Credit Stephen Fegley
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Jared Brumbaugh is the Assistant General Manager for Public Radio East. An Eastern North Carolina native, Jared began his professional public radio career at Public Radio East while he was a student at Craven Community College earning his degree in Electronics Engineering Technology. During his 15+ years at Public Radio East, he has served as an award-winning journalist, producer, and on-air host. When not at the station, Jared enjoys hiking, traveling, and honing his culinary skills.