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Investigating coastline dynamics in an increasingly stormy world

Investigating coastline dynamics in an increasingly stormy world

Major impacts of climate change include global sea-level rise and increased storminess which will impact on coastlines, coastal ecosystems and threaten coastal societies to be investigated by researchers from the School of Geography.

Researchers from the White Rose University Consortium have been awarded a White Rose University Consortium Collaboration Fund grant to collaborate on a project titled ‘Coastline dynamics in an increasingly stormy world’.  Dr Graeme Swindles and Dr Clare Woulds (School of Geography, University of Leeds) will be collaborating with the Principal Investigator, Dr Katherine Selby (University of York) and Dr Mark Bateman (lead academic at the University of Sheffield). 

A major impact of climate change is global sea-level rise and increased storminess which will impact on coastlines, coastal ecosystems and threaten coastal societies.  A pole-ward shift in storm tracks and increased storminess in the Atlantic-European sector in the 1990s (linked to a positive phase of the North Atlantic Oscillation) has already been reported and it is hypothesised that climate change will lead to a shifting of storm tracks and increased intensity and frequency of storms in the future (e.g. Stephens, Nature Climate Change, 2011, DOI: doi:10.1038/nclimate1176).

The project will involve fieldwork in Portugal, Ireland and North East England and a desk-based study, focussing on old maps, historical records, archaeological data, LiDAR Coastal Zone Assessment Surveys and pre-existing climate model simulations for the mid-Holocene until present will be undertaken.

The aims of the project are to investigate how storminess has affected coastal areas by integrating field and documentary evidence, and independent climate proxy data. As outputs, the project will:-

  • Produce geo-referenced maps that can be related to storminess.
  • Examine societal responses to these changes e.g. abandonment of archaeological sites.
  • Combine the data to inform how present and future changes may affect coastal areas, using stakeholder input.

For more information about the White Rose University Consortium please visit http://www.whiterose.ac.uk/.