Changes in ocean tides and storm conditions have not caused long-term effects on sandy beaches over the past 30 years, a new study has found.
Published today at Scientific reportsthe study draws on data from 30 years of global satellite and model studies to examine whether changes in ocean wave conditions have an impact on the stability of coastal environments.
The combined effects of climate change driven by changes in waves, storm surges and sea level rise are expected to lead to a change in the coastal position of most of the world’s sandy beaches.
A group of researchers, led by University of Melbourne Ph.D. candidate Mandana Ganavati and Professor Ian Young, together with colleagues from the IHE Delft Institute for Water Education and Deltares in the Netherlands, looked at changes in coastal position over the past 30 years around the world. These changes in coastal position are compared to changes in wave and storm properties along the same coasts.
“Although many coastlines around the world are dynamic, responding to wave and storm events, these changes are likely to be short- to medium-term. Waves and storm surges directly cause long-term shrinking the beaches,” Young said.
Ganavati said that it is generally understood that climate change caused by the increase in wind speed and sea waves is affecting the world’s coastlines.
“Changes in average sea level due to global warming are expected to result in the retreat of our coastlines, in many areas threatening homes, infrastructure and ecosystems. The last 30 years seems too small to have a measurable effect.
“Changes in sediment supply from rivers, longshore gradients in sediment transport and human management of beaches are likely to have a greater impact on coastal position change than wave changes. and storm surge climate in the last 30 years,” Ganavati said.
Climate change and average sea level rise are projected to result in widespread coastal erosion of sandy beaches well into the 21st century, potentially disrupting lives and leading to mass loss socioeconomically. This study found that available data do not show clear links between long-term coastal changes and changes in waves and storm surges over the past three decades.
Mandana Ghanavati et al, An assessment of how long-term global changes in waves and storm surges are affecting the world’s coastlines, Scientific reports (2023). DOI: 10.1038/s41598-023-38729-y
Provided by the University of Melbourne
Citation: Long-term changes in waves and storm surges do not affect the world’s coasts, new study finds (2023, July 19) retrieved July 19, 2023 from https:/ /phys.org/news/2023-07-long-term-storm- surges-impacted-global.html
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