The impact of coastal erosion and communicating science issues using art
Scott Gudrich: Coastal erosion & ABR (Arts-based research): Sidmouth’s crumbling cliffs at East Beach and Pennington Point are among areas that new research by Plymouth University on coastal change has predicted will see more erosion than expected while other areas seem to be eroding more slowly than previously thought.
But what causes coastal erosion and is there anything we can do about it? While the current period of rapid cliff recession and low beach levels is broadly coincident with construction of the offshore breakwaters and rock groynes on Sidmouth beach, comparable historic pre-groynes periods of low beach and rapid cliff loss suggest that the cause of cliff recession seen in recent years is likely a function of low beach levels (due to persistent South Westerly storms), particularly wet weather since 2000, erosion along the more vulnerable bedrock joints, erosion of a greater thickness of weak sediments capping the cliffs at Pennington Point, and, in the early 1990s at least, erosion of a tunnel excavated along the base of the cliffs. Over the longer term, erosion rates are expected to return to the lower historic rate but given the large uncertainties over the geology as well as future storms and climate conditions it is very difficult to predict when this might be.
Scott holds a BSc in Environmental and Sustainability Studies as well as an MSc in Marine Environmental Protection.
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