Coastline Dynamics in an Increasingly Stormy World

Katherine Selby – Project Lead  (York)
Graeme Swindles (Leeds)
Mark Bateman (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.