The depiction of past environments has long been the domain of artists using both traditional and digital media to portray natural or cultural settings in a way which evokes a specific interpretation of the landscape based on the archaeological and ecological records. These "moments in time" have always been useful for allowing the intended audience to visualize a setting, and put it into context with their own knowledge and experience. The same conditions apply to visualizations of future climate change, though these have been typically less evocative and much more clinical. Recently, advances in GIS and 3D environmental modeling software have allowed more realistic, and immersive, depictions of past and future landscapes that can be generated using real-world digital topographic and bathymetric data. Unfortunately, archaeologists and paleoclimatologists have typically relied on these same modern datasets to make fairly simplistic interpretations of shoreline change and evolution over long periods of time, and usually without any photorealistic or immersive visualizations. But by incorporating dynamic geomorphological processes into the environmental modeling it becomes possible to provide much more accurate depictions of the inundation and retreat of shorelines over time, their hydrodynamics, and the evolution of shoreline and near-shore ecosystems. Presented here are some examples of this approach using highly diverse datasets from Australia, Vietnam, and California.
Speaker: Thomas Whitley, Sonoma State University
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