2nd Edition

Coastal Systems

ISBN 9780415440608
Published September 24, 2008 by Routledge
240 Pages 123 B/W Illustrations

USD $52.95

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Book Description

The coast represents the crossroads between the oceans, land and atmosphere, and all three contribute to the physical and ecological evolution of coastlines. Coasts are dynamic systems, with identifiable inputs and outputs of energy and material. Changes to input force coasts to respond, often in dramatic ways as attested by the impacts of the Indian Ocean tsunami in 2004, the landfall of Hurricane Katrina along the Gulf Coast of the USA in 2005, and the steady rise of global warming driven sea-level. More than half the world’s human population lives at the coast, and here people often come into conflict with natural coastal processes. Research continues to unravel the relationship between coastal processes and society, so that we may better appreciate, understand, manage and live safely within this unique global environment.

Coastal Systems offers a concise introduction to the processes, landforms, ecosystems and management of this important global environment. New to the second edition is a greater emphasis on the role of high-energy events, such as storms and tsunamis, which have manifested themselves with catastrophic effects in recent years. There is also a new concluding chapter, and updated guides to the ever-growing coastal literature. Each chapter is illustrated and furnished with topical case studies from around the world. Introductory chapters establish the importance of coasts, and explain how they are studied within a systems framework. Subsequent chapters explore the role of waves, tides, rivers and sea-level change in coastal evolution.

Students will benefit from summary points, themed boxes, engaging discussion questions and new graded annotated guides to further reading at the end of each chapter. Additionally, a comprehensive glossary of technical terms and an extensive bibliography are provided. The book is highly illustrated with diagrams and original plates. The comprehensive balance of illustrations and academic thought provides a well balanced view between the role of coastal catastrophes and gradual processes, also examining the impact humans and society have and continue to have on the coastal environment.

Table of Contents

1. Coastal Systems: Definition, Energy and Classification.  Defining the Coast.  Coastal Energy Sources.  Coastal Systems.  Systems Approaches.  The Concept of Equilibrium.  System Feedbacks.  The Classification of Coasts.  Geological Classification.  Tectonic Classification.  Coastal Terminology.  Summary.  Discussion Questions.  Further Reading  2. Wave-dominated Coastal Systems.  Introduction.  Waves.  Wind Waves.  Tsunami Waves.  Erosional Coasts.  Cliffs.  Shore Platforms.  Ecology of Rocky Shores.  Coral Reef Coasts.  Coral Cays.  Coral Reef Ecology.  Barrier Islands.  Barrier Island Formation.  Barrier Island Morphodynamics.  Beaches.  Beach Profiles.  Beach Sediment.  Longshore Beach Features.  Gravel Beaches.  The Ecology of Beach Systems.  Coastal and Dune Systems.  Aeolian and Transport and Deposition.  Dune System Morphodynamics.  Coastal Dune Ecology and Management.  Summary.  Discussion Questions.  Further Reading.  3. Tidally-dominated Coastal Systems.  Introduction.  Tides and their Generation.  Tide and Datum Levels.  Meteorological Effects and Storm Surges.  Tidal Range.  Tidal Currents.  Estuaries.  Estuary Classification.  Estuary Morphology.  Salt and Fresh Water Mixing Within Estuaries.  Estuarine Sedimentation.  Estuarine Ecology.  Salt Marshes and Mangroves.  Salt Marsh Geomorphology.  Salt Marsh Sedimentology.  Salt Marsh Morphodynamics.  Salt Marsh Ecology.  Mangroves.  Summary.  Discussion Questions.  Further Reading.  4. River-dominated Coastal Systems.  Introduction  Delta Classification.  River-dominated Deltas.  Tide-dominated Deltas.  Wave-dominated Deltas.  Alternative Delta Classifications.  Deltaic Sediment Supply.  River Discharge Characteristics.  Homopycnal Flow.  Hyperpycnal Flow.  Hypopycnal Flow.  River Mouth Types.  River Deltas.  Delta Plain.  Delta Front.  Prodelta.  Fan Deltas.  Fan Delta Morphology.  Holocene Delta Development.  Deltas and Human Activity.  Human Impacts on Deltas.  Summary.  Discussion Questions.  Further Reading.  5. Sea-level and the Changing Land-sea Interface.  Introduction.  Constructing Records of Sea-level Change.  Dating Sea Level Index Points.  The Altitude of Sea Level Index Points.  Tendency of Sea Level.  Indicative Meaning and Range.  Coastal Responses to Sea-level Change.  Salt Marshes.  Mangroves.  Coastal Sand Dunes.  Gravel Beaches.  Global Warming and the Threat of Future Sea-level Rise.  Thermal Expansion of the Oceans.  The Melting of Glaciers and Small Ice Caps.  The Greenland Ice Sheet.  The Antarctic Ice Sheet.  Variations in Surface and Ground Water Storage.  Future Sea Level Rise and its Impacts.  Managing Global Sea Level Rise.  Summary.  Discussion Questions.  Further Reading.  6. Coastal Management Issues.  Introduction.  Coastal Management Issues.  The Growth of Coastal Populations.  The Use of the Coast.  Coastal Hazards.  Administrative Issues.  Approaches to Coastal Zone Management.  SCOPAC – Coastal Zone Management in Southern England.  Heritage Coasts of England and Wales.  Coastal Zoning – The Great Barrier Reef Marine Park.  Summary.  Discussion Questions.  Further Reading.  Conclusion.

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Simon K. Haslett is Director, Centre for Excellence in Learning and Teaching at the University of Wales. His main area of research is coastal evolution and oceanography, including coastal upwelling, sea-level change, and the impact of high-energy events, such as tsunami and storms. He is dedicated to the Public Understanding of Science and has written extensively in newspapers and magazines, gives public lectures, and appears on television. He was very heavily involved in making a television programme on the Bristol Channel in 2004 for BBC Timewatch which was screened in April 2005 entitled Killer Wave of 1607, which was screened in April 2005.