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TitleThe impact of climate change on coastal ecosystems
AuthorWoodroffe, C D; Nicholls, R J; Burkett, V; Forbes, D LORCID logo
SourceOceans and Human Health: Implications for Society and Well-Being; by Bowen, R E (ed.); Depledge, M H (ed.); Carlane, C P (ed.); Fleming, L E (ed.); 2014 p. 141-176
LinksOrder / commander
Alt SeriesEarth Sciences Sector, Contribution Series 20100316
PublisherWiley Blackwell
Mediapaper; digital
Subjectsenvironmental geology; Health and Safety; Nature and Environment; coastal studies; coastal environment; ecosystems; climate; climatic fluctuations; climate effects; Climate change; Human health
ProgramClimate Change Geoscience
Released2014 01 01
AbstractThe coastal zone has experienced substantial changes over the 20th century and continues to be one of the most dynamic regions on Earth. Some of the clearest indicators of climate-change impacts come from the coast; fragile communities on low-lying coral islands or dense populations flanking the distributaries of some of the world¿s largest deltas have become icons of the apparent threats faced in a warmer world. In this chapter we review the climate drivers and the impacts they are likely to have on various coastal ecosystems. We reinforce the susceptibility of coastal systems to climate change, particularly the impacts of sea-level rise. We also stress two other important features of coasts and coastal ecosystems. First, these are dynamic ecosystems which continually undergo adjustments, especially through erosion and re-deposition, in response to a range of processes. Many of these ecosystems adjust naturally at a range of time scales, and their potential for response is examined partly by reconstructing how such systems have coped with natural changes of climate and sea level in the past. Second, coasts have changed profoundly through the 20th century due to the impacts of human development (such as urbanisation, port and industrial expansion, and the draining and conversion of coastal wetlands), with these development-related drivers closely linked to a growing global population and economy.

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