Coastal vulnerability to sea-level rise and climate change

Irene Delgado-Fernandez

    Research output: Contribution to conferenceLecture


    Coastal sciences have developed at an astonishing rate over the last few decades, along with trends in contemporary management that favour more participatory approaches to decision making. From landmark models in coastal evolution, to computer simulations and high-resolution instrumentation, the world’s coastlines can be examined at increasingly finer resolutions. However, despite advances, modern coastal sciences still face significant challenges due to the wide range of variables affecting the coast. Coastal environments lie at the intersection of land, atmospheric, and marine processes, and hence constitute one of Earth’s most dynamic landscapes, and one of the most difficult to understand. They respond very rapidly to environmental changes such as sea level fluctuations and storminess, and their interaction with biological processes such as changes in vegetation generate diverse landscapes that may change dramatically both over the short- and the long- term. Human actions and coastal infrastructure during the 20th century significantly interfered with natural processes on many coastlines around the world. The 21st century has seen, however, a shift from hard-engineering protective structures to ‘soft-engineering’ dune restoration and coastal preservation projects. The natural ability of coastal dunes to act as a buffer against coastal erosion and flooding, together with recent frameworks suggesting that dunes may maintain their overall volume during periods of sea level rise, supports a switch from ‘armouring’ the coastline to working with natural processes and allowing beach-dune dynamism as an essential part of coastal evolution. Examples range from Australia and Brazil to The Netherlands amongst other countries, the latest having a long history of coastal management now favouring approaches consisting in ‘building’ with nature and respecting coastal dynamism. This public lecture explores the future of coastlines and coastal dunes in the context of environmental changes such as rising sea-levels and potential increases in storminess.
    Original languageEnglish
    Publication statusAccepted/In press - 21 Oct 2017
    EventGeography Department Public Lectures Series - Edge Hill University, Ormskirk, United Kingdom
    Duration: 21 Nov 2017 → …


    OtherGeography Department Public Lectures Series
    Country/TerritoryUnited Kingdom
    Period21/11/17 → …


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