English Coast Stays Abreast of Possible Perils of Global Warming

May 15, 2006

Shoreline to the northeast of London has dispelled some of the concern caused by research that predicts that sea levels have risen and will continue to rise to a degree that will threaten human and wildlife communities. Evidence from a new study indicates that relatively little change in shoreline position has occurred since World War II. The study is published in the latest issue of Journal of Coastal Research.

The Dunwich-Sizewell coast is arguably one of the most scenically attractive and least spoiled in England. Reviewing its past and present coastal changes will serve to inform future management options if flood defenses and coast protection prove unsustainable.

In the past 2,000 years, the study area has experienced major changes with significant loss of land caused by marine erosion. The study, however, reports a decline in the rates of cliff erosion in certain parts. In the geologically recent past, the onshore area of eastern East Anglia has seen periods of relative uplift, probably because of block tilting and crust deformation caused by loading in the southern North Sea Basin.

At present, little scientific evidence supports a case for large-scale realignment of the defenses along this coast. Area-specific cases such as at the beach and frontal dunes of the northern end of the Minsmere Reserve Frontage are aligned too far seaward with respect to the rest of the shoreline and are eroding with the risk of wave overtopping.

If sea levels rise and increased storminess occurs as a result of global warming, these effects might not be significant for at least 30 to 50 years, the study’s researchers said. But in the future, realignment might be needed in local cases to achieve equilibrium even under present climatic and sea level conditions.

Source: Alliance Communications Group

Explore further: Habitat prediction model created to protect piping plovers

Related Stories

Habitat prediction model created to protect piping plovers

July 30, 2015

Beach walkers along the East Coast often share the sand with several kinds of birds that scavenge the shore just out of the reach of waves. Among these shorebirds is the piping plover—a tiny, busy bird that nests in open ...

Researchers provide new details about sea stars' immunity

July 28, 2015

A study led by a University of Texas at Arlington graduate student examining sea stars dying along the West Coast provides new clues about the starfish's immune response and its ability to protect a diverse coastal ecosystem.

Undersea volcano called Kick 'em Jenny rumbling off Grenada

July 24, 2015

An active underwater volcano off Grenada's northern coast called Kick 'em Jenny was rumbling Thursday and regional disaster authorities were put on alert, though they said it posed no threat of triggering a destructive tsunami.

Parasitic flatworms flout global biodiversity patterns

July 24, 2015

The odds of being attacked and castrated by a variety of parasitic flatworms increases for marine horn snails the farther they are found from the tropics. A Smithsonian-led research team discovered this exception to an otherwise ...

Recommended for you

Study calculates the speed of ice formation

August 3, 2015

Researchers at Princeton University have for the first time directly calculated the rate at which water crystallizes into ice in a realistic computer model of water molecules. The simulations, which were carried out on supercomputers, ...

'Snowball earth' might be slushy

August 3, 2015

Imagine a world without liquid water—just solid ice in all directions. It would certainly not be a place that most life forms would like to live.

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.