Evaluation Of The View That Coastal Systems Are Too Complex To Ever Be Completely Manageable

2370 words - 9 pages

Evaluation of the View that Coastal Systems are too Complex to Ever be Completely Manageable

Of all the earth's natural environments, the coast is the most rapidly
changing and dynamic. It can be defined in several ways, but at its
simplest, it is the place where land and sea meet and interact. The
coast is under numerous pressures due to its pull for economic
activity, settlement, recreation and wildlife. Its form is greatly
influenced by Terrestrial (Weathering, erosion, deposition, rock
type/structure). Human (Pollution, recreation, settlement, defenses)
and Atmospheric (Climate. Marine, Waves, tides, salt spray). They all
interact to produce the enormous variety of coastlines found
worldwide. (From beaches and cliffs to coral reefs).

As things like coastal tourism have become more frequent, humans have
found it increasingly necessary to attempt to control the effects of
the sea. The main reasons for coastal management are to protect the
coast from the erosive effects of the sea and to increase the amount
of sand on the beach. Many strategies have been tried around the
world, and these can be divided into two main groups, hard and soft
engineering. Hard engineering methods aim to stop the coastal
processes from occurring. Soft engineering methods try to work with
nature to protect the coast.

Coastal lands and sediments are constantly in motion. Breaking waves
move sand along the coast, eroding sand in one area and depositing it
on an adjacent beach. Tidal cycles bring sand onto the beach and carry
it back into the surf. Rivers carry sediment to the coast and build
deltas into the open water. Storms cause deep erosion in one area and
leave thick over wash deposits in another. Plants retain sediment in
wetlands and impede movement of coastal dunes. Natural processes that
change the water level also affect coastal dynamics. Taken
individually, each natural process of coastal transport is complex;
taken collectively, they create an extraordinarily intricate system
that attempts to achieve a dynamic balance.

The complexity of this system means that individual factors make a big
influence on the entire coastal system. Long shore drift is
responsible for most of the interactions within the system through
transfers of sediment. Loose materials are relocated from sections of
the coastline dominated by erosion to those where deposition occurs to
form constructive landforms such as beaches, spits and bars. Winds can
carry sand inland as an output from the coastal system. Sea-level
change occurs over a range of timescales. Short-term change occurs as
a result of wave and tidal action. Tides are changes in water level
due to the gravitational attraction exerted on the oceans mainly by
the moon, and to a lesser extent by the sun. British coastlines
experience semi-diurnal tides where...

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