Climate, Coast, and Morphology


Coastal morphology refers to the morphology and morphological development of the coast in response to a combined influence of atmospheric, oceanic and anthropogenic forcing. Coastal morphology comprises a wide variety of landforms (exposed to air) and bedforms (submerged in water) manifested in a large spectrum of spatial scales (10−2–105 m scale) and shapes ranging from mildly sloping lower shoreface to steep cliffs, from small ripples to large river deltas. Coastal zones are cradles for life. About 40% of the global human population and 50% of marine life are living in low-lying coastal zones with elevation less than 10 m above the mean sea level. Coasts contain the highest biodiversity in the surface earth system yet are highly vulnerable to environmental stressors associated with human activities and climate change. Climate impacts coastal morphology in multiple ways, including ice cover/melting, precipitation, temperature, and wind. In response to a changing climate, adaptation of coastal morphology can be categorized into three basic states: erosional, stable, and accretionary. Each state may persist or iterate at any given part of a coast, even in the context of a persistently warming or cooling climate. Anthropogenic protection has been globally implemented to ease erosion and protect human property. However, it remains largely unknown whether the existing measures would be able to counteract the effects of climate change in the upcoming decades.
QR Code: Link to publication