Research and Application News
Monitoring coastal zones from space
02 November 2017
The world's coastal zones, currently home to a large fraction of the world's population, are under serious threat from coastal erosion, cyclones, storms, and saltwater incursion into estuaries and coastal aquifers. In the future, scientists expect these hazards to increase because of the combined effects of sea level rise, climate change, human activities, and population increase.
How coastal environments respond to natural and anthropogenic factors depends on the characteristics of the forcing agents, as well as on the properties of the coastal systems that remain poorly known and mostly unsurveyed on a global scale. To better understand changes affecting coastal zones and to provide useful information to decision-makers, we need to collect and analyse various types of observations with global coverage.
In this context, observations from space represent an important complement to existing in situ observing systems (e.g., regional tide gauge networks). Here we highlight the benefit of systematic coastal monitoring from space. Such data combined with in situ observations and databases will be extremely useful to constrain models of coastal change.
Image credit: ESA - Sentinel-2A view of the Sundarbans, Ganges-Brahmaputra Delta