Tag Archives: Erosion

One in ten historic coastal landfill sites in England are at risk of erosion

Sunset at the coast near Bamburgh Castle, England. Captions and Photo source: ©© Norbert Rupp


Coastal erosion may release waste from ten per cent of England’s historic coastal landfills in the next forty years, according to research from Queen Mary University of London and the Environment Agency.

There are at least 1,215 historic coastal landfill sites in England, mostly clustered around estuaries with major cities, including Liverpool, London, and Newcastle on Tyne. An investigation by researchers finds that 122 sites are at risk of starting to erode into coastal waters by 2055 if not adequately protected…

Read Full Article, Science Daily (11-16-2017)

Floods and erosion are ruining Britain’s most significant sites; Guardian UK (02-07-2017)
Climate change is already wrecking some of Britain’s most significant sites, from Wordsworth’s gardens in Cumbria to the white cliffs on England’s south coast, according to a new report…

Popular Coastal Attraction Suffered 7 years’ Worth of Erosion in 2 Months, UK; BBC News (03-02-2014)

Growing Climate Change Threat to Britain’s Historic Coastline, The Telegraph UK (06-12-2015)

Coastal Erosion: A series of Special Reports, Guardian UK (08-17-2015)

This Sinking Isle: The Homeowners Battling Coastal Erosion, Guardian UK (04-17-2015)
As sea levels rise, thousands of people on the coast of Britain have been forced to move inland…

Sinking England, A National Geographic Video (11-2011)

“Coastlines: The Story of Our Shores” A book by Patrick Markham; Guardian UK (11-08-2015)

The Mekong, Dammed to Die

Construction of the Don Sarong Dam. Captions and Photo source: ©© International Rivers


In Laos, the lush forests are alive with the whines of drills that pierce the air. On the Mekong, a giant concrete wall rises slowly above the trees. The Don Sahong dam is a strong symbol, not only for a power-hungry Asia but also for what critics fear is a disaster in the making…

Read Full Article, IPS News (11-14-2017)

Don Sarong Dam, International Rivers
The construction of the Don Sahong Dam officially began in January 2016. Located in the Siphandone (Khone Falls) area of southern Laos, less than two kilometers upstream of the Laos-Cambodia border, the dam will block the main channel passable year-round by fish migrating between Cambodia, Laos and Thailand, threatening vital subsistence and commercial fisheries in the Lower Mekong Basin…

Life on Mekong Faces Threats As Major Dams Begin to Rise; Yale E360 (03-03-2014)

Dam projects on world’s largest rivers threaten ecosystems, rural livelihoods; Science Daily (01-08-2016)

Large Dams Just Aren’t Worth the Cost, The New York Times (10-25-2014)

Small Dams On Chinese River Harm Environment More Than Expected, study finds, NSF (05-30-2013)

Sediment Trapped Behind Dams Makes Them ‘Hot Spots’ for Greenhouse Gas Emissions, (08-01-2013)
The large reservoirs of water behind the world’s 50,000 large dams are a known source of methane. Methane has a warming effect 25 times more powerful than carbon dioxide. That knowledge led to questions about hydroelectric power’s image as a green and nonpolluting energy source…

New Global Warming Culprit: Dams (08-08-2012)

Dams – Cutting Off Beach Sand; By Gary Griggs (12-19-2014)

DamNation; a Documentary That’s Testing the Waters of Corporate Social Responsibility; Produced by Stoecker Ecological and Felt Soul Media, and presented by Patagonia.

Movement to Take Down Thousands of Dams Goes Mainstream, National Geographic (01-29-2015)

Elwha, The Grand Experiment (11-12-2012)

Swallowed by the Sea: Where coastal infrastructure and jobs meet climate change

Dilapidated houses at the water edge, Popenguine, Thies, Senegal. Photo source: ©© Joyce Lee


Life is shifting fast for coastal communities in West Africa. In some areas, coastlines are eroding as much as 10 meters per year. Stronger storms and rising seas are wiping out homes, roads and buildings that have served as landmarks for generations…

Read Full Article, The World Bank (11-09-2017)

Togo’s battle with coastal erosion; Deutsche Welle (04-17-2017)
Man-made coastal erosion has reached alarming proportions in Togo. Coastal erosion, in which land or beaches are worn away by the wind and the waves, is destroying around five to ten meters (16-32 feet) of shoreline every year. In some locations, up to 25 meters has disappeared over the same period…

West Africa Is Being Swallowed by the Sea; FP (10-21-2016)
Encroaching waters off the coast of Togo, Ghana, Mauritania, and others are destroying homes, schools, fish, and a way of life…

Erosion and the Disappearance of Senegal’s coast, EuroNews (06-15-2015)

Ghana’s coastal erosion: The village buried in sand; BBC News (05-13-2016)
Rising sea levels are swallowing up land along the West African coastline at an astonishing rate. The geographical location of Fuveme, in Keta municipality of the Volta region, Ghana, makes it particularly prone to sea erosion…

Coastal erosion displaces hundreds, Liberia; IRIN

Sand mining: The Greatest Threat To The Coastline of Ghana, Graphic Online (04-24-2014)

Nigeria: Coastline Erosion, Sand Mining Threat to Lagos, All’Africa

A Photo Gallery: “We Were Once Three Miles From the Sea” (01-03-2014)
Grain by grain, West Africa’s coasts are eroding away, the dry land sucked under the water by a destructive mix of natural erosion and human meddling… Nyani Quarmyne has poignantly photographed the impacts of climate change on people living on the Ghana coast…

One Flew Over a Beach Sand Mining Pit, Senegal; INA Video (Uploaded 07-17-2013)
One flew over a coastline, North of Dakar, used as and ad hoc beach sand mining pit…

The Market For African Beach Sand: Who’s Buying, Selling And Mining It?, AFK Insider (02-17-2017)
Sand mining on beaches and in riverbeds is a source of income for unemployed Africans, but it’s often an unregulated — or under-regulated — business. Environmental impact is a growing concern…

The african west coasts are undergoing much erosion. Keta, Ghana, is part of the Volta Delta Region, and some think the Volta Dam prevents silt for depositing and leads to greater erosion. Captions and Photo source: ©© Beth Knittle

While a new island grew, southern Hatteras was shrinking, NC

The waters off of North Carolina’s barrier islands have been called a “graveyard of the Atlantic.” Countless ships have wrecked here, due to the area’s treacherous weather and currents and its expansive shoals. These shoals are, by definition, usually submerged. But occasionally parts of them can rise above sea level.
These natural-color images, acquired by the Operational Land Imager (OLI) on the Landsat 8 satellite, show the shoal area off of Cape Point at Cape Hatteras National Seashore—the site of a newly exposed shoal nicknamed “Shelly Island.” The first image was captured in November 2016. When the second image was acquired in January 2017, waves were clearly breaking on the shallow region off the cape’s tip. The site of those breakers is where the island eventually formed, visible in the third image captured in July 2017. The new island measures about a mile long.
Captions and Image source: NASA / Earth Observatory


Whatever mysterious forces crafted the new, crescent-shaped island at Cape Point is steadily gulping down the south end of Hatteras Island, spitting aside trees, power poles and a popular route for off-road vehicles…

Read Full Article, The Outer Banks Voice (11-01-2017)

Irma builds bridge between Hatteras Point and Shelly Island; The Outer Banks Voice (09-20-2017)
Rough surf from Hurricane Irma brought more than just great waves to the popular Shelly Island sandbar. It also brought some dramatic changes to the long formation off of Cape Point…

New Island Appears Off U.S. Coast; The National Geographic (06-27-2017)
It appeared out of nowhere in April just off North Carolina’s Outer Banks—a new land mass poking through the surf, a brand new Atlantic Ocean island. This new formation is of a scale rarely seen…

“The Beaches Are Moving,” A Video featuring Orrin Pilkey, PhD
World famous coastal geologist Orrin H. Pilkey takes us to the beach and explains why erosion has become a problem…

Sinking Atlantic Coastline Meets Rapidly Rising Seas; Climate Central (04-15-2016)
Geological changes along the East Coast are causing land to sink along the seaboard. That’s exacerbating the flood-inducing effects of sea level rise, which has been occurring faster in the western Atlantic Ocean than elsewhere in recent years…

Coastline erosion worsening in Malaysia

Coastal erosion, Batu Ferringhi Beach, Penang, Malaysia. Photo source: ©© Fenners1984


Erosion of coastlines and beaches is worsening in Malaysia.

Minister of Natural Resources and Environment Dato Sri Wan Junaidi Tuankau Jaafar said about 10 per cent of the country’s 6,700km coastlines are now badly affected by erosion.

He said coastal erosion was very bad especially in areas where coastal developments projects are being implemented…

Read Full Article; Borneo Post (10-07-2017)

How a useless dam nearly destroyed an iconic beach; CA

Elwha Dam removal, 2011. The largest dam-removal project in U.S. history—the Elwha River Restoration Project—commenced during the second week of September 2011, when National Park Service contractors began to dismantle two dams on the Elwha River in Washington State. The 32-m-tall Elwha Dam and the 64-m-tall Glines Canyon Dam, completed in 1913 and 1927, respectively, have been blocking the natural supply of sediment to the lower river and coast and severely limiting salmon and steelhead spawning for nearly a century. Captions: Jonathan A. Warrick / USGS. Photograph: © SAF


Surfers’ Point appears to be a rare natural California oceanfront. But looks deceive.

The beach is man-made. It was built the length of five football fields with an 8-foot-thick layer of cobblestones topped with enough imported sand to fill nearly 2,000 dump trucks.

The city of Ventura and environmental groups like the Surfrider Foundation launched the $4 million beach-building project when the coastline eroded in the early 1990s because the Ventura River was no longer bringing enough sand and sediment to nourish the beach.

The sand thief was 16 miles upstream: Matilija Dam…

Read Full Article; E & E News (08-23-2017)

Dams – Cutting off our Beach Sand; By Gary Griggs (12-19-2014)

Elwha, The Grand Experiment (11-12-2012)

DamNation; a Documentary That’s Testing the Waters of Corporate Social Responsibility; Produced by Stoecker Ecological and Felt Soul Media” and presented by Patagonia.

Sediment Trapped Behind Dams Makes Them ‘Hot Spots’ for Greenhouse Gas Emissions (08-2013)

Undamming Rivers: A Chance For New Clean Energy Source; Yale E360 (08-07-2015)
Hydroelectric power is often touted as clean energy, but this claim is true only in the narrow sense of not causing air pollution. In many places, such as the U.S. East Coast, hydroelectric dams have damaged the ecological integrity of nearly every major river…

The Wrong Climate for Damming Rivers, A Video from Todd Southgate (05-26-2016)
Though large hydropower projects are often presented as a “clean and green” source of energy, nothing could be further from the truth…

Let’s Talk About Sand: “Sand Wars” Film Director Denis Delestrac, At TEDxBarcelona (©-2013)

Beach replenishment may have far reaching impacts on ecosystems;” Phys.Org (03-29-2016)
UC San Diego biologists who examined the biological impact of replenishing eroded beaches with offshore sand found that such beach replenishment efforts could have long-term negative impacts on coastal ecosystems…

Study: Sand nourishment linked to fewer marine life, Palm Beach Daily News (04-2016)
A recent study examining the impact of beach nourishment projects on marine life should provoke further research by local scientists, according to a Palm Beach Atlantic University biologist…

Green group questions beach renourishment costs, environmental effects; Myrtle News (04-11-2016)

Many Texas Beaches Likely to Erode, Be Overwashed, or Inundated by Hurricane Harvey

This is a screenshot of the USGS Coastal Change Hazards Portal, which shows current coastal impact projections for Hurricane Harvey.


New projections from the U.S. Geological Survey indicate Hurricane Harvey is likely to cause significant beach erosion along the Texas coastline, with water overtopping dunes and in some cases inundating areas.

As of Friday morning, the USGS Coastal Change Forecast model is predicting that 94 percent of Texas’s 367 miles of coastline will undergo some level of beach erosion from the storm surge and large waves Hurricane Harvey will produce.

“Significant coastal erosion along the coastline of Texas is expected due to the rapid strengthening of Hurricane Harvey,” said Joseph Long, USGS Research Oceanographer. “While the forecasts are subject to change as Harvey approaches land, we are making these forecasts to help inform emergency managers and communities on the potential coastal erosion hazards to be prepared for during the storm.”

There are many factors and variables to consider when trying to determine what a large storm like Harvey might do to the coast. The USGS Coastal Change Forecast model uses the National Hurricane Center’s storm surge predictions and National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration wave forecast models as key inputs, and adds information about the beach slope and dune height to predict how high waves and surge will move up the beach and whether the protective dunes will be overtopped.

Results of the modeling indicate Hurricane Harvey could have a significant impact on the beaches and dunes coastal Texas.

The Coastal Change Forecast model is also projecting that 47 percent of Texas’s coastline will experience a more severe level of erosion hazard, known as dune overwash, particularly north of Corpus Christi up to the Galveston area. As waves and surge reach higher than the top of a dune, overwash occurs, often transporting large amounts of sand across coastal environments and roadways, depositing sand inland and causing significant changes to the landscape and possibly impeding transportation routes.

Inundation is the most severe level of coastal damage from a storm and occurs when beaches and dunes are completely and continuously submerged by surge. Currently, 14 percent of Texas’s coastline is projected to experience inundation in areas north of Corpus Christi to the Galveston area.

“The public should understand that whenever we have almost 100 percent of a coastline expected to experience erosion and a large portion of it projected to have dune overwash and inundation, that it is a very hazardous condition and that the beaches will look dramatically different after the storm passes,” Long said.

A map of these estimates can be viewed on the USGS’ Coastal Change Hazards Portal, which is easily accessible to the public. The coastal change forecast can be used by emergency managers to help identify locations where coastal impacts might be the most severe, such as where roads may be damaged or covered by sand and impassable even after the storm is over.

While the final projections for Hurricane Harvey will continue to change, Harvey is forecasted to remain a powerful storm for several days and to bring damaging conditions to Texas and possibly other gulf coast states beaches as well.

Original Article; USGS (08-24-2017)

Zeebrugge, Belgium

Astronaut photograph ISS051-E-13055 was acquired on April 13, 2017.

By Justin Wilkinson, Texas State University, JETS Contract at NASA-JSC;

Looking down on the narrow seas between Europe and England, an astronaut took this photograph of the small town of Zeebrugge, one of Europe’s most important modern ports. This Belgian town has just 4,000 inhabitants, but it takes 11,000 people to operate the port, so workers stream in from neighboring coastal towns such as Knokke-Heist, Heist-aan-Zee, and Blankenberge.

Zeebrugge is a town of superlatives. It is the world’s largest port for the import and export of new vehicles, with more than 1.6 million handled in 2010. Zeebrugge is also the site of Europe’s largest liquid natural gas (LNG) terminal, receiving the gas via an undersea pipeline from the North Sea.

The port at Zeebrugge accommodates “ultra-large” container ships, so it is one of the most important European hubs for containerized cargo. The most important function of the port is intense “RoRo traffic” (roll-on roll-off) between cities on the Continent, Great Britain, Scandinavia, and Southern Europe. The port handles more than 2.5 million standard containers (TEUs) and 50 million tonnes of cargo each year.

Being close to the United Kingdom, the coastal town also functions as a passenger ferry terminal. It attracts tourists to its cruise ships as well as its beaches, which are well developed north of the harbor in Albertstrand. Zeebrugge is also Belgium’s most important fishing port, and its wholesale fish market is one of the largest in Europe.

Hundreds of years ago, an arm of the sea extended well inland as far as the village of Damme, which acted as a port for centuries. When this inlet silted up, Zeebrugge became the port for the famous historical inland city of Bruges (just outside the lower right of the photo) with which it is still connected by a straight canal. Zeebrugge means Bruges by the sea.

Original Article; NASA / Earth Observatory (08-21-2017)

Deep-Sea Ports Construction Cause Coastal Erosion, Bangkok Post (01-12-2012)
Destructive coastal erosion along southern shorelines battered by recent storms could be the result of deep-sea port construction, villagers say, leaving them in fear of more beaches disappearing…

African Ports Scramble for Land to Expand as Demand Rises; JOC (07-28-2015)

Experts All Set For In-Depth Study Of Beach Erosion, Times Of India (02-17-2014)
A team of oceanography experts has submitted a report on the preliminary causes identified for the ongoing coastal erosion affecting the Port’s region on the AP littoral. Two main reasons have been identified…

The Prevention and Control of Shipping and Port Emissions in China, NRDC; (10-28-2014)
China is home to seven of the world’s ten busiest container ports. About 26 percent of the world’s containers pass through the top ten Chinese ports every year. Every ship and truck brings pollution along with its cargo, and China is paying a high price for pollution from shipping. A NRDC new report…

Worldwide Ship Traffic Up 300 Percent Since 1992, AGU (11-29-2014)

Thousands Of Containers Fall Off Ships Every Year. What Happens To Them? Huffington Green (07-17-2014)
It is estimated that thousands of containers are lost every year along international shipping routes due to big waves or wind gusts. Sometimes they wash up on shore, but what happens to the containers that land at the bottom of the sea? No one really knew.

Sea Traffic Pollutes Our Lungs More Than Previously Thought, Science Daily (11-20-2015)
New data show that the air along the coasts is full of hazardous nanoparticles from sea traffic. Almost half of the measured particles stem from sea traffic emissions, while the rest is deemed to be mainly from cars but also industries and natural particles from the sea…

Study: Why Blue Whales Can’t Avoid Barges, Ocean Liners, Huffington Green (05-06-2015)

Super-sized ships: How big can they get? Independent UK (10-20-2014)
Despite the physical limits and risks, ships of more than 450m are anticipated within the next five years…

Shipping Superhighways; NASA (04-06-2015)
The oceans may be vast, yet they still can grow crowded. Some congested areas have enough ship traffic that the International Maritime Organization (IMO) and other groups maintain traffic separation schemes—the equivalent of highways for ships—to reduce the risk of collisions…

“FREIGHTENED – The Real Price of Shipping,” a movie by multi award-winning filmmaker Denis Delestrac-©-2016; (03-31-2016)
90% of the goods we consume in the West are manufactured in far-off lands and brought to us by ship. The cargo shipping industry is a key player in world economy and forms the basis of our very model of modern civilisation; without it, it would be impossible to fulfil the ever-increasing demands of our societies. Yet the functioning and regulations of this business remain largely obscure to many, and its hidden costs affect us all. Due to their size, freight ships no longer fit in traditional city harbours; they have moved out of the public’s eye, behind barriers and check points…

Breaking Bad on the Beach, NASA / Earth Observatory (09-28-2014)
Tens of thousands of ships ply the world’s oceans, bays, and rivers. But what happens when those ships have become too old or too expensive to operate? In most cases, they end up on the shores of Asia…literally.

Alaskan towns at risk from rising seas sound alarm as Trump pulls federal help

Home lost to coastal erosion, Shismaref, Alaska. Photo source: EPA


Communities in danger of falling into the sea say assistance from Washington has dried up: ‘It feels like a complete abdication of responsibility on climate change’…

Read Full Article; Guardian UK (08-10-2017)

Northern Alaska Coastal Erosion Threatens Habitat and Infrastructure, USGS (07-10-2015)
In a new study, scientists from the U.S.G.S found that the remote northern Alaska coast has some of the highest shoreline erosion rates in the world. Analyzing over half a century of shoreline change data, scientists found the pattern is extremely variable with most of the coast retreating at rates of more than 1 meter a year.

The Front Line of Climate Change: Alaska Village Must Relocate as Arctic Sea Ice Thins, by Michael Walsh (02-27-2015)

Climate Change Takes A Village, Huffington Green (12-16-2014)
As the planet warms, a remote Alaskan town shows just how unprepared we are…

Moving to Higher Ground (After 12,000 years), A Video from Great Big Story (03-11-2016)
The Quinault Indian Nation has lived in what is now Washington State for thousands of years. But, it’s time to move. The tribe lives on the coast, and climate change has caused sea levels to rise and endanger the village. As the tribe moves to higher ground, it’s bittersweet, since a new home also means moving off sacred ground…

The First Official Climate Refugees in the U.S. Race Against Time; National Geographic (03-27-2016)