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Exploring unintended feedbacks between coastal hazard, exposure, and vulnerability

Exploring unintended feedbacks between coastal hazard, exposure, and vulnerability
Exploring unintended feedbacks between coastal hazard, exposure, and vulnerability
Coastal zones are more densely populated than any other landscape on Earth. These regions are also dynamic places that naturally change shape and position, especially in response to sea-level rise, leaving the infrastructure that sustains high coastal populations exposed to natural coastal hazards. Therefore, to make exposed infrastructure less vulnerable to damage, shorelines are deliberately altered with hazard protections. Some developed coasts have been altered on such spatial scales that they no longer act like natural coastlines. Instead, they function as coupled human-landscape systems, where shoreline dynamics reflect interactions and feedbacks between human alterations and natural coastal processes. The Atlantic Coast of the USA has over 2500 km of developed coastline, and is arguably the largest coastal coupled human-landscape system in the world, and is dominated by beach nourishment: a type of coastal hazard protection that involves widening an eroding beach with imported sand. Beach nourishment buffers exposed infrastructure from coastal hazards, and also serves as a stock of natural capital for tourism economies. However, despite ubiquitous nourishment along the US Atlantic since the 1960s, coastal risk continues to increase. This dynamic is an expression of the “safe development paradox”, in which exposure to hazard continues to rise, despite increased efforts to protect against hazard impacts. This thesis explores unintended feedbacks between coastal hazard, exposure, and vulnerability evident along the US Atlantic Coast. My work examines why beach nourishment might have the counter-productive consequence of increasing risk. This thesis also presents a conceptual framework that may enable future models of coastal risk to incorporate “big data” approaches to illuminate and explore the “safe development paradox”, and to test whether prospective management strategies might mediate coastal risk or exacerbate it.
University of Southampton
Armstrong, Scott, Bruce
83514fef-1710-4477-9e75-64425b2022b1
Armstrong, Scott, Bruce
83514fef-1710-4477-9e75-64425b2022b1
Lazarus, Eli
642a3cdb-0d25-48b1-8ab8-8d1d72daca6e
Leyland, Julian
15cefd9f-2f5d-42a3-9d48-3e32c673ad41

Armstrong, Scott, Bruce (2019) Exploring unintended feedbacks between coastal hazard, exposure, and vulnerability. University of Southampton, Doctoral Thesis, 155pp.

Record type: Thesis (Doctoral)

Abstract

Coastal zones are more densely populated than any other landscape on Earth. These regions are also dynamic places that naturally change shape and position, especially in response to sea-level rise, leaving the infrastructure that sustains high coastal populations exposed to natural coastal hazards. Therefore, to make exposed infrastructure less vulnerable to damage, shorelines are deliberately altered with hazard protections. Some developed coasts have been altered on such spatial scales that they no longer act like natural coastlines. Instead, they function as coupled human-landscape systems, where shoreline dynamics reflect interactions and feedbacks between human alterations and natural coastal processes. The Atlantic Coast of the USA has over 2500 km of developed coastline, and is arguably the largest coastal coupled human-landscape system in the world, and is dominated by beach nourishment: a type of coastal hazard protection that involves widening an eroding beach with imported sand. Beach nourishment buffers exposed infrastructure from coastal hazards, and also serves as a stock of natural capital for tourism economies. However, despite ubiquitous nourishment along the US Atlantic since the 1960s, coastal risk continues to increase. This dynamic is an expression of the “safe development paradox”, in which exposure to hazard continues to rise, despite increased efforts to protect against hazard impacts. This thesis explores unintended feedbacks between coastal hazard, exposure, and vulnerability evident along the US Atlantic Coast. My work examines why beach nourishment might have the counter-productive consequence of increasing risk. This thesis also presents a conceptual framework that may enable future models of coastal risk to incorporate “big data” approaches to illuminate and explore the “safe development paradox”, and to test whether prospective management strategies might mediate coastal risk or exacerbate it.

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Scott Armstrong PhD Thesis final copy - Version of Record
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Published date: May 2019

Identifiers

Local EPrints ID: 433871
URI: http://eprints.soton.ac.uk/id/eprint/433871
PURE UUID: fd2754c3-a58c-4696-9ba6-97c846f232c0
ORCID for Eli Lazarus: ORCID iD orcid.org/0000-0003-2404-9661

Catalogue record

Date deposited: 05 Sep 2019 16:30
Last modified: 06 Sep 2019 00:26

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Contributors

Author: Scott, Bruce Armstrong
Thesis advisor: Eli Lazarus ORCID iD
Thesis advisor: Julian Leyland

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