Extreme Storms Could Help Protect Beaches From Sea Level Rise: Study


Deep sand movements stirred up by intense storms may offset some of the impacts of coastal erosion caused by sea level rise.

Images in the wake of violent coastal storms usually focus purely on the extensive damage caused to beaches, dunes, property, and surrounding infrastructure.

However, a new international study has shown that extreme weather events could help protect beaches from the impact of sea level rise – by bringing in new sand from deeper waters or from nearby beaches. The study, led by Dr Mitchell Harley from UNSW Water Research Laboratory, is published today in Nature Communications Earth & Environment.

“We know that extreme storms cause major coastal erosion and damage to beachfront properties," Dr Harley says. “For the first time we looked not just above water, where the impacts of extreme storms are easy to see, but also deep down below the water as well.”

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