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Sediment supply and barrier dynamics as driving mechanisms of Holocene coastal change for the southern North Sea basin

Hamilton, Christine A., Kirby, Jason R., Lane, Timothy P., Plater, Andrew J., Waller, Martyn P.
Quaternary international 2019 v.500 pp. 147-158
Holocene epoch, anthropogenic activities, basins, case studies, climate change, coasts, databases, infrastructure, landscapes, natural resources conservation, sea level, sediments, stratigraphy, England, North Sea
The combined effects of climate change and human impact lead to regional and local coastal responses that pose major challenges for the future resilience of coastal landscapes, increasing the vulnerability of communities, infrastructure and nature conservation interests. Using the Suffolk coast, southeast England, as a case study, we investigate the importance of sediment supply and barrier dynamics as driving mechanisms of coastal change throughout the Holocene. Litho-, bio- and chronostratigraphic methods are used to decipher the mechanisms of coastal change from the record preserved within coastal stratigraphy. Results suggest that local coastal configuration and sediment supply were the most influential in determining coastal change during the mid- and late Holocene, against a background control of sea-level rise. The importance of sedimentological and morphological factors in shaping Holocene coastal changes in the southern North Sea basin must therefore be considered when using the database of evidence from this region as an analogue for future change under accelerated sea-level rise.