Assessing Shoreline Change Rates in Mediterranean Beaches

  • Fernando J. AguilarEmail author
  • Ismael Fernández
  • Manuel A. Aguilar
  • Andrés M. García Lorca
Part of the Coastal Research Library book series (COASTALRL, volume 24)


Shoreline change rate constitutes an essential parameter for coastal areas management and monitoring in order to map erosion/accretion areas and to forecast the future shoreline position. Here, shoreline rates were assessed in a heavily human influenced coastal sector of the Mediterranean coast located at Almeria province, Spain. In order to evaluate shoreline rate change assessment in Mediterranean beaches, a comparison was carried out between three methods applied throughout 2009 to 2011 period. In this sense, two kinds of sources were used in order to derive shoreline positions: (i) digitizing the high water line (HWL) through orthoimage interpretation and (ii) automatically extracting a contour level from a LiDAR-derived coastal elevation model (CEM). Shoreline extraction quality was studied by comparing HWL and two datum-based contours, one extrapolated up to 0 m and the other interpolated at 0.75 m above mean sea level (Spanish altimetric datum). It was found a significant bias between HWL and datum-based shoreline positions which had been qualified as negligible in other previous studies carried out in microtidal areas. Since HWL and 0.75 m contour-based shorelines showed a similar distribution, although presenting an added offset, and the 0 m contour was too noisy because of extrapolation errors, it was concluded that the 0.75 m contour-based shoreline was the most stable and accurate proxy datum for multitemporal shorelines comparison. Finally, a high variability of shoreline position could be tested when HWL was used as a proxy for shoreline, being HWL less accurate than CEM-derived shorelines except for the case of using poorly accurate photogrammetrically derived CEMs (e.g. based on very old aerial flights).


Shoreline change rate Shoreline accuracy Shoreline indicator Medium-term shoreline evolution Mediterranean beaches 



The research work reported here was made possible through the Excellence Research Project RNM-3575, funded by the Andalusia Regional Government (Spain) and cofinanced by the European Union through the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF).

This work takes part of the general research lines promoted by the CEI-MAR Campus of International Excellence as a joint initiative between the universities of Cádiz, Almería, Granada, Huelva and Málaga.


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Fernando J. Aguilar
    • 1
    Email author
  • Ismael Fernández
    • 1
  • Manuel A. Aguilar
    • 1
  • Andrés M. García Lorca
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of EngineeringUniversity of AlmeríaAlmeríaSpain
  2. 2.Department of Geography, History and Human SciencesUniversity of AlmeríaAlmeríaSpain

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