Community Research and Development Information Service - CORDIS

Climate change and coastal evolution in Europe

This project concerns the impacts of climate shifts on coastal evolution in Europe. A large array of methodologies, different coastal sites, and a variety of studied coastal forcing factors on different time scales, have led to a better understanding of coastal processes influenced by climate shifts (storm frequencies and magnitude), sea-level changes, tectonic and (isostatic) subsidence/uplift control, and sudden events (tsunami).

Climate shift forcing on the mesoscale (1-100 years) and the macroscale (100-1000 years) (ie the strategic role of storms and tides, in combination with local morphology, exposure, sediment availability/delivery, and tectonic control) has been shown to be one of the major drives for coastal changes. Sediment availability plays a dominant role in the amount of change suffered by the coastal systems. It can be considered one of the most important threshold boundaries controlling the land/ocean interface.

Sea-level changes will have a significant impact. There is particular concern for the tidally influenced flats and marshes, and the coastal areas with a net sediment deficit. Other areas at risk are those where isostatic uplift has countered sea-level rise until now. They are expected to be subject to coastal erosion in the near future under the accelerated sea-level rise scenario.

The sensitivity/vulnerability of coastal systems to climate shifts, is largely controlled by storm magnitude and fetch, together with sediment availability. A particular case is shown to be the impact of tsunami waves.

The impact of human interference is large. As long as economic pressure plays a dominant role behind any CZM policy, very little can be achieved towards an integrated coastal zone management. As such, this project contributed to a more rational, comprehensive and cost-effective ICZM approach.

Related information

Contact

Thomas DE GROOT, (Senior Marine and Coastal Sedimentologist)
Tel.: +31-30-2564558
Fax: +31-30-2564555
E-mail
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