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Earth Surface Dynamics An interactive open-access journal of the European Geosciences Union
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Volume 2, issue 1 | Copyright
Earth Surf. Dynam., 2, 295-308, 2014
https://doi.org/10.5194/esurf-2-295-2014
© Author(s) 2014. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License.

Research article 03 Jun 2014

Research article | 03 Jun 2014

Coastal vulnerability of a pinned, soft-cliff coastline – Part I: Assessing the natural sensitivity to wave climate

A. Barkwith1, C. W. Thomas1, P. W. Limber2,*, M. A. Ellis1, and A. B. Murray2 A. Barkwith et al.
  • 1British Geological Survey, Keyworth, Nottingham, NG12 5GG, UK
  • 2Nicholas School of the Environment, Duke University, Durham, NC, USA
  • *now at: Dept. of Geological Sciences, University of Florida, Gainesville, FL, USA

Abstract. The impact of future sea-level rise on coastal erosion as a result of a changing climate has been studied in detail over the past decade. The potential impact of a changing wave climate on erosion rates, however, is not typically considered. We explore the effect of changing wave climates on a pinned, soft-cliff, sandy coastline, using as an example the Holderness coast of East Yorkshire, UK.

The initial phase of the study concentrates on calibrating a numerical model to recently measured erosion rates for the Holderness coast using an ensemble of geomorphological and shoreface parameters under an observed offshore wave climate. In the main phase of the study, wave climate data are perturbed gradually to assess their impact on coastal morphology. Forward-modelled simulations constrain the nature of the morphological response of the coast to changes in wave climate over the next century. Results indicate that changes to erosion rates over the next century will be spatially and temporally heterogeneous, with a variability of up to ±25% in the erosion rate relative to projections under constant wave climate. The heterogeneity results from the current coastal morphology and the sediment transport dynamics consequent on differing wave climate regimes.

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