Encyclopedia of Coastal Science

2019 Edition
| Editors: Charles W. Finkl, Christopher Makowski

Beach Processes

  • John R. DinglerEmail author
Reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-319-93806-6_36

The continuous changes taking place in the coastal zone constitute beach processes. A beach is one part of the coastal zone, which is the transitional area between terrestrial and marine environments. The coastal zone comprises the beach; an underwater region that extends seaward to the depth where waves no longer effect the sea bottom; and inland to features such as sea cliffs, dune fields, and estuaries (q.v.). Beach studies focus on understanding spatial and temporal changes in alongshore and cross-shore geomorphic features of the beach (Beach Features: q.v.) and in the size and composition of beach sediment. Over time, the coastal zone changes in character in response to changes in wave climate and other physical processes.

Comprehensive knowledge of beach processes is crucial to society because the majority of the world’s coastlines are eroding (Thornton et al. 2000). Moreover, sea-level rise (q.v.) from global warmingcould accelerate coastal land loss, resulting in an...

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© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.US Geological Survey MS-999Menlo ParkUSA