Geoscience Reference
In-Depth Information
these environmental parameters reflect the large-scale
climatic change that the Earth is presently under-
going. The more dramatic and measurable increases
in temperature have unfortunately detracted from the
more significant nature of that change, namely
the increasing variability of climate since 1948. This
increase accelerated in the 1970s and shows no sign of
abating. The world's beaches will continue to respond
to this change; unfortunately, it will be in an erosive
Finally, a note of caution: this chapter has cast
doubt on the relevance of emphasizing a uniform,
worldwide rising sea level, and shown that this factor
is not solely responsible for eroding beaches. Erosion
of the world's beaches may not be so common, or
so permanent, as generally believed. For example,
when averaged over the long term, the high tide
record for Stanwell Park Beach (Figure 2.11) is
stable even though sea level off this coast is currently
thought to be rising by 1.6 mm yr -1 ; rainfall has
increased about 15 per cent since 1948; and there are
no presently active sediment sources. In Florida,
detailed surveys at 100 m intervals around the coast
have shown that beaches did not erode between
1972 and 1986, even though sea level rose and
rainfall increased and sand supplies remained
meager. Here, the absence of storm activity over this
time span may be the reason for stability.
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