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Californians Come Up With a New Use for Drones – Fighting Climate Change

Californians are sick and tired of not knowing what’s going on with the weather, so a group of “citizen scientists” decided to do something about it. According to an Associated Press report, a group of residents has banded together to use their smartphones and unmanned aerial vehicles, or drones, to study the changes to the coast resulting from El Niño.

The Nature Conservancy has asked drone enthusiasts to keep tabs on the flooding and erosion on the beaches of California, which has been particularly active this year as a result of the El Niño weather pattern and its accompanying precipitation. El Niño has resulted in one of California’s wettest winters in recent memory, and the potential for coastal erosion due to sea level rise is huge.

By collecting crowd-sourced images of floods and eroding beaches, scientists are amassing a database of nearly every instance of coastal erosion caught by amateur drone pilots. As climate change worsens, sea level rise is expected to accelerate and lead to more devastating loss of dunes and land surrounding coastal communities.

Don McCullough

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