Shore and shoreline evolution both due to natural and human-induced causes or factors can be variable over a wide range of different temporal and/or spatial scales. Our capability to understand and especially predict this variability is still limited. This can lead to misinterpretation of coastal change information, which hampers informed decision making and the subsequent design and implementation of (soft) engineering interventions. Collecting and describing example observations of shore and shoreline variability is one way to support and improve such human intervention. This paper describes causes and factors for the variability and the resulting possible evolutions of wave-dominated shores and shorelines, which are illustrated by a number of case studies. The new element of this work is that the variability is described in terms of a range of different time and space scales, which helps to structure such analysis. However, it is difficult to generalise the results for arbitrary situations, especially on decadal time scales. Scientific and engineering improvements require more quantitative insight into the physical mechanisms behind the free and forced shore behaviour responsible for the variability.
- Shore evolution
- Shoreline evolution