Land-Sea Physical Interaction

This chapter deals with how human activities have changed the physical interaction between the sea and the land. This physical interaction is important because about 60 per cent of the world’s population live in the coastal zone (Nicholls et al., 2007). The “coastal zone” is defined in a World Bank publication as “the interface where the land meets the ocean, encompassing shoreline environments as well as adjacent coastal waters. Its components can include river deltas, coastal plains, wetlands, beaches and dunes, reefs, mangrove forests, lagoons and other coastal features.” (Post et al., 1996) In some places, natural coastal erosion processes cause damage to property, harm to economic activities and even loss of life. In other places, human activities have modified natural processes of erosion of the coast and its replenishment, through: (1) coastal development such as land reclamation, sand mining and the construction of sea defences that change the coastal alongshore sediment transport system; (2) modification of river catchments to either increase or decrease natural sediment delivery to the coast; and (3) through global climate change and attendant sea level rise changes to surface wave height and period and the intensity and frequency of storm events.
Reyna, J., Bera, A., Cho, H. Y., Wilson, W. D., Folorunsho, R., Green, S., ... & Tuhumwire, J. (2016). Land-Sea Physical Interaction. The First Global Integrated Marine Assessment. World Ocean Assessment I.