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The coastal zone and its classification for geospatial analysis

Chapter


Abstract


  • The coastal zone comprises a series of landforms and ecosystems that extend either

    side of the shoreline, the intersection of land and sea. Coastal systems are highly

    dynamic, their morphology evolving at a range of time scales in response to the processes

    acting upon them. Whereas cliffs are generally resistant and change only over long time

    scales, with evidence of substantial changes over a geological time scale in response to

    adjustments of sea level, sandy shorelines are much more responsive at instantaneous and

    event time scales, influenced by wave energy and antecedent conditions. Particularly

    relevant in terms of coastal management are engineering time scales of decades at which

    human interactions exert subtle influences with need for planning and policies that are

    commensurate with natural trajectories of change. Complex coasts such as estuaries and

    deltas also respond to gradients in wave, tide and river processes, undergoing adjustments

    such as the switching of delta distributaries. The morphology (state) of the coast changes

    in response to perturbations, particularly extreme events such as storms, but also

    thresholds within the system (as when a cliff oversteepens and falls, or a delta

    distributary lengthens and then switches). As anthropogenic modification of climate and

    sea level occurs at a global scale, the human factor increasingly needs to be given

    prominence in coastal geomorphology.

    The geospatial portrayal of coasts is not straightforward. Traditional GIS data

    models and structures have been designed for land-based applications. The

    multidimensionality and dynamic characteristics of coastal systems make it challenging

    to transfer these concepts across the coastal zone. Even the conceptualization and

    selection of an appropriate shoreline can be difficult, in addition to the implementation of

    an appropriate data structure which suits the continual adjustment of iconic coastal

    systems. Whereas coastal terrain represents a fundamental dataset, data accuracy and

    availability for the coast vary from terrestrial, through intertidal to subtidal environments,

    and the complexities resulting from different datums compound the compilation of a seamless coastal terrain model. A series of sophisticated remote sensing techniques, such

    as satellite imagery and airborne laser altimetry surveying, provide a source of

    information for advanced spatial analysis of landforms and the recognition of habitats

    within them, which can then be incorporated into coastal geodatabases. New techniques

    in data portrayal, such as 3D visualization and animations, help bridge the gap between

    science and decision-makers, and provide additional tools such as scenario-building that

    can provide a basis for planning for a future that is uncertain, where identifiable hazards

    such as episodic storms and shoreline protection may be exacerbated by less foreseeable

    impacts associated with climate change and increasing population pressure.

Publication Date


  • 2010

Citation


  • Woodroffe, C. D. & Leon, J. X. (2010). The coastal zone and its classification for geospatial analysis. In M. Maanan & M. Robin (Eds.), Geomatic Solutions For Coastal Environments (pp. 1-32). New York, USA: Nova Science Publishers.

Scopus Eid


  • 2-s2.0-84892933626

Ro Metadata Url


  • http://ro.uow.edu.au/scipapers/5174

Book Title


  • Geomatic Solutions For Coastal Environments

Has Global Citation Frequency


Start Page


  • 1

End Page


  • 32

Place Of Publication


  • New York, USA

Abstract


  • The coastal zone comprises a series of landforms and ecosystems that extend either

    side of the shoreline, the intersection of land and sea. Coastal systems are highly

    dynamic, their morphology evolving at a range of time scales in response to the processes

    acting upon them. Whereas cliffs are generally resistant and change only over long time

    scales, with evidence of substantial changes over a geological time scale in response to

    adjustments of sea level, sandy shorelines are much more responsive at instantaneous and

    event time scales, influenced by wave energy and antecedent conditions. Particularly

    relevant in terms of coastal management are engineering time scales of decades at which

    human interactions exert subtle influences with need for planning and policies that are

    commensurate with natural trajectories of change. Complex coasts such as estuaries and

    deltas also respond to gradients in wave, tide and river processes, undergoing adjustments

    such as the switching of delta distributaries. The morphology (state) of the coast changes

    in response to perturbations, particularly extreme events such as storms, but also

    thresholds within the system (as when a cliff oversteepens and falls, or a delta

    distributary lengthens and then switches). As anthropogenic modification of climate and

    sea level occurs at a global scale, the human factor increasingly needs to be given

    prominence in coastal geomorphology.

    The geospatial portrayal of coasts is not straightforward. Traditional GIS data

    models and structures have been designed for land-based applications. The

    multidimensionality and dynamic characteristics of coastal systems make it challenging

    to transfer these concepts across the coastal zone. Even the conceptualization and

    selection of an appropriate shoreline can be difficult, in addition to the implementation of

    an appropriate data structure which suits the continual adjustment of iconic coastal

    systems. Whereas coastal terrain represents a fundamental dataset, data accuracy and

    availability for the coast vary from terrestrial, through intertidal to subtidal environments,

    and the complexities resulting from different datums compound the compilation of a seamless coastal terrain model. A series of sophisticated remote sensing techniques, such

    as satellite imagery and airborne laser altimetry surveying, provide a source of

    information for advanced spatial analysis of landforms and the recognition of habitats

    within them, which can then be incorporated into coastal geodatabases. New techniques

    in data portrayal, such as 3D visualization and animations, help bridge the gap between

    science and decision-makers, and provide additional tools such as scenario-building that

    can provide a basis for planning for a future that is uncertain, where identifiable hazards

    such as episodic storms and shoreline protection may be exacerbated by less foreseeable

    impacts associated with climate change and increasing population pressure.

Publication Date


  • 2010

Citation


  • Woodroffe, C. D. & Leon, J. X. (2010). The coastal zone and its classification for geospatial analysis. In M. Maanan & M. Robin (Eds.), Geomatic Solutions For Coastal Environments (pp. 1-32). New York, USA: Nova Science Publishers.

Scopus Eid


  • 2-s2.0-84892933626

Ro Metadata Url


  • http://ro.uow.edu.au/scipapers/5174

Book Title


  • Geomatic Solutions For Coastal Environments

Has Global Citation Frequency


Start Page


  • 1

End Page


  • 32

Place Of Publication


  • New York, USA