The shape of any coast
changes over time in response to changes in energy (waves, tides
and currents), material (sediment type and supply), existing
coastal morphology and sea level.
The potential implications of climate change, such as coastal
flooding, coastal erosion and habitat change affect a diverse range
of human economic activities including recreation and tourism,
ports and shipping, transport and commerce.
For coastal economies and people, relative sea-level rise with
increased rates and extent of coastal erosion and higher frequency
of flooding are likely to be the main direct impacts.
How we respond to these challenges will directly influence
environmental and socio-economic outcomes.
In February 2002, a low pressure system in the southern Irish
Sea coincided with the spring tide, leading to an extreme water
level (i.e. the highest water level in any given year) of 2.9 m
above Mean Sea Level. This is the highest level in Dublin Port
since records began in 1923. In Belfast the tide reached 1m above
the predicted tidal water level.
Annual extreme high water level, Dublin Port. From: Irish
Committee on Climate change, Third Scientific Statement.
Royal Irish Academy. © John Sweeny.
Weather chart for storm surge on Feb 1st 2002.
© Crown copyright 2002, the Met Office.
The storm surge led to-
A 0.5 m rise in sea level would mean the extreme water level of
February 2002 could become an annual event. Many UK and Irish ports
are on estuaries and may experience increased frequency of storm
surges which would affect their operations.
PHOTOS from top: Davey Benson, Lorne