Detecting coastal change along the North Sea coast from open-source satellite images
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Sandy coastlines are continuously subjected to rapid coastal change. The expected climate change induced developments in sea level rise, mean wave conditions and storm events, will cause an increase in erosion rates, exposing these areas to increasing hazardous conditions. For coastal management purposes it is important to observe and quantify these changes. This is especially relevant around the North Sea as this is a low-lying area containing a variety of beach morphologies and orientations. However, it remains unknown how all the various beaches around the North Sea respond morphologically to the water and wave conditions in the North Sea. It is also unclear how these responses vary from one another and under what conditions these variations occur. Here we show that shoreline change around the North Sea is highly dependent on the site-specific circumstances and that storms are not the dominating factor determining the shoreline position. All studied sites exhibit long-term trends in shoreline position and morphological change. These trends show large variations between the different sites and are characterized by local factors such as morphology, orientation, local wave climate and coastal management strategies.