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The impacts of climate change and relative sea-level rise on the environmental resources of European coasts


The project centres upon two primary and linked objectives.
Firstly, to investigate the behaviour of sedimentary, or other
vulnerable coastal systems, under the conditions of sea-level
rise, in determining coastal positions in time and of their
interaction with other significant environmental controls.
Secondly, to evaluate the impacts of rising sea level, and linked
controls, upon coastal systems likely to be sensitive to
recording significant environmental changes under conditions of
climate forcing.

The different elements of the project are necessarily concerned
initially with the collection of data upon a range of coastal
systems changes and of these systems' sensitivity to various
environmental process controls. Both contemporary and past
records of change, at short to medium timescales (10{1} - 10{3}
years) will be examined to establish the impacts of sea-level
rise and of the coast's vulnerability to change. Coastal data
derived from remote sensing imagery (e.g. LANDSAT, SPOT),
archival - documentary sources and sedimentary - geomorhological
records will be obtained for European coastal environments.

Work concerned with determining the causes and patterns of
coastal functioning will concentrate upon the analysis of records
of wave, tide, climate and sediments data. Techniques will
involve those of precise site survey and the geophysical
investigation of alongshore to offshore changes. This work will
be linked to sedimentological studies, using stratigraphic -
coring and other techniques of sediments analysis. Laboratory
examination of these records will be undertaken to establish the
timescales and frequencies of environmental changes and of
information upon accompanying coastal process operations.
Statistical and mathematical approaches, involving quantification
of sediments behaviour; wave refraction - coastal dynamics,
tidal, sediment transfer, hydraulic and other models, will also
be used. These approaches will lead to the testing of the
records of coastal behaviour against established models.

In studies designed to establish the coastal zone's responses to
sea-level rise, and the significance of such environmental
impacts for approaches to coastal management, data collection
will be linked to the development of data monitoring approaches,
to database construction and to archiving. Information upon
coastal zone behaviour and sensitivity to changes will be
collected using aerial, remote sensing and field truthing
techniques; coupled to the establishment of appropriate data
handling systems using GIS approaches. The mapping and
interpretation of these data will be used to investigate
appropriate methods for linking local scale coastal environmental
data (e.g. 1:2500), essential for the accurate definition of
coastal impact and resource use problems, with their
representation at regional scales (e.g. 1:50,000 and 1:250,000).

Call for proposal

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University College Cork
EU contribution
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College Road
30 Cork

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Total cost
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Participants (8)