Coastal erosion

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Definition of Coastal erosion:
Coastal erosion is the process of wearing away material from the coastal profile due to imbalance in the supply and export of material from a certain section of the coast.
This is the common definition for Coastal erosion, other definitions can be discussed in the article


Erosion takes place on the shoreface and on the beach if the export is greater than the supply of material, meaning that the level of the seabed and the beach will decrease. The deficit can be due to both cross-shore processes and longshore processes. It manifests itself in the scouring in the foot of the cliffs or in the foot of the dunes. Coastal erosion occurs mainly during strong winds, high waves and high tides and storm surge conditions, and results in coastline retreat. Erosion due to cross-shore processes is a (partially) reversible process (see Dune erosion). The rate of erosion is correctly expressed in volume/length/time, e.g. in m3/m/year, but erosion rate is often used synonymously with coastline retreat, and thus expressed in m/year. The most important reason for long-term erosion is a deficit in the littoral drift budget, which is often caused by a deficit in supply of sand to the area in question (also referred to as structural erosion).

Related articles

Articles listed on the category page coastal protection

and in particular articles on different causes of erosion:

Natural causes of coastal erosion
Human causes of coastal erosion

and articles on the background of erosion:

Dealing with coastal erosion
Bruun rule for shoreface adaptation to sea-level rise
Dune erosion
Littoral drift and shoreline modelling
Shoreface profile
Active coastal zone
Coastal Hydrodynamics And Transport Processes
Coastal Erosion along the Changjiang Deltaic Shoreline

An introduction to the interaction between ecology and geomorphology of a system is given in Biogeomorphology of coastal systems

Further reading

USACE, 2012. Coastal engineering manual. Report No 110-2-1100. Washington DC: US Army Corps of Engineers
Mangor, K., Drønen, N. K., Kaergaard, K.H. and Kristensen, N.E. 2017. Shoreline management guidelines. DHI