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On Coastal Morphology - Coursework Example

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Coastal morphology Introduction Climate change has been quite a controversial topic. Quite a number of studies and researches have been done in the recent past and are still being done aimed at looking at its impacts of climate in the various parts of the world…
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Coursework on Coastal Morphology
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Coastal morphology Introduction Climate change has been quite a controversial topic. Quite a number of studies and researches have been done in the recent past and are still being done aimed at looking at its impacts of climate in the various parts of the world. It is important to acknowledge that different parts of the world will be affected differently. This could be as a result of variations in the level of pollution which and therefore climate change. It is important to acknowledge that as much as predictions indicate that planet earth will have warmer temperatures, some will actually have higher increases in temperature than others depending on factors such as geographical location and even the level of pollution. The unite kingdom is has experienced varied effects off climate changes as well as changes in the sea level. It is form the effects that we can make predictions as to the potential changes on the UK coastal waters. Rising sea levels threaten to overwhelm the low-lying areas, enhance intrusion of salt water in coastal aquifers and intensify the coastal erosion. By 2060, National Rivers Authority (NRA) estimate that the average sea levels in Wales and other coastal areas will have increased by more than 30 cm. As much as 30 cm may not seem much the Department of Environment (DoE) notes that a slight rise in the average sea level would heighten the frequency of intense levels of water resulting from storm surges. The likely impact of increased sea levels blended with higher storm surges was illustrated best in Towyn in 1990 when surge of 1.3 m height flooded ten square miles and resulted in damage worth about 31 million pounds. Extreme events such as these are only likely under changed climatic conditions (Buckley 2010, p.375). However, there are uncertainties as to the likely increase since there is no knowledge as to the contribution that should be expected from the three key processes that result in a rise in sea level. These include melting of ice caps and glaciers, loss of ice in the West Antarctic and Greenland ice sheets and the thermal expansion. It is predicted that the alongside the increase in the sea level is the increase in the temperature of the sea surface as well as acidity. This is definitely more important for marine environment since the temperatures of the sea surface are a reflection of the seasonal air temperatures. These are predicted t go up by about 1oC and 3oC in the next twenty years and a hundred years respectively. These levels are expected to significantly change the composition of species in the Irish seas. Source: global-greenhouse-warming.com One of the most fearsome impacts of the rise in the sea 0levels is the erosion and the storm surges. Britain’s coastline will be severely affected by the rising sea levels. According to research by Joseph Rowntree Foundation, there will be variations in the impact 9on the different coastal regions. The East of England stands a higher risk of erosion with its soft sediment and low lying coasts. Towns close to the estuaries are actually more vulnerable. Seventeen percent of UK’s coastline has already been seen to suffer from erosion. The areas that stand a high risk include Lincolnshire, Thames estuary, Yorkshire, East Anglia, south Wales and North-West Scotland. Studies show that the sandy beaches will be lost with the seas moving inland by between 130 meters and 344 meters. As much as these figures need to be taken cautiously, it is likely that the increased beach erosion will lead to loss of beach material in the times when beach-based demand may be increasing. With the variations in the coastal sediments and the size of sand, the erosion effect will also be affecting the different areas differently. Erosion is faster where there are fine sands as opposed to the coarse sands. In this case, therefore, the tidal waves will eat faster into the fine-grained cliffs than the coarse-grained ones (Buckley 2010, p.45). The United Kingdom government has looked into various ways of protecting its coastline for a number of decades. In the last fifty years, successive administrations have been looking into hard defenses like groynes and sea walls to protect the coastline. This is due to the understanding that the most productive agricultural land is 5 meters above sea level or less. In addition, most of the UK trade takes place in the sea ports. UK coastline is also a key tourist destination and home to key bird populations and wetlands that are internationally significant. The rise in sea levels and even the sea level temperatures presents a major challenge as to the capacity of these sea walls and groynes to protect the coastline from erosion. This is because the increased volumes of water will exert more pressure on the sea walls and the groynes. In addition, it increases the risk of inundation due to wave run-up as well as overtopping of the properties that back up the beaches. Source: http://www.mfe.govt.nz/publications/climate/coastal-hazards-climate-change-guidance-manual/page4.html Conclusion The magnitude of climate change effects not only on the coastlines but also in other parts of the earth cannot be gainsaid. Looking at the effects that it has had in the recent past, the predictions paint a grim picture on what to expect in the near future. References Buckley, JG 2010, Marine Climate Change Impacts, Sage Publications, Thousand Oaks, California. Read More
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