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Physical Processes in the coastal environment

The coastal resource is a major focus of current environmental preservations due to alarming actions of coastal resource degradation. Knowing the common process occurring in the coasts is vital information and a guiding tool for action. The coastal environment consists of an area of land and sea… It plays a vital role in nutrient assimilation, geochemical cycling, water storage, and sediment stabilization, and sustains the majority of neighbouring marine finfish and shellfish resources (Kelmas, 1998). Marine processes: Tides, circulation patterns, etc., as well as biochemical processes occur in the coast.

 Carter (1989) discussed in detail the common physical activities in the coastal area. The primary catalyst to major activities in the coastal area is solar radiation. And there are two acting fluids here – air and water. Differences in the magnitude of radiation cause unequal temperature and pressure on the earth’s surface. As a result air streams and water currents occur. The coastal boundary has a strong effect on these fluid movements due to some abrupt changes in altitudes, and other factors.

The coast is also a portal and a mixing point between fresh and saltwater. As waters from rivers merged here, diluted water moves seaward giving way for more concentrated seawater and the mixing process goes on and on. Air and water mixing in the coastal area is a factor that contributes energy transfer. The breaking of waves on the shallow portions of the coastline allows the merging of air (oxygen and carbon dioxide) and water which is essential in sustaining balance in the coastal ecology.

Likewise chemical processes such as distillation, evaporation, salt deposits, and others occur in the area as affected by temperature and pressure differentials and marine life processes like respiration, photosynthesis, and others. Another activity occurring in the coastal area is the process of sediment formation. The primary sources of sediments in the shore are those fragments created by waves as they hit the cliff and ground surfaces. The remains of the natural flora of the coasts such as corals and shells also form part of these.

Then secondary sources are those drained from rivers and other manmade activities like dredging, garbage disposal and others. These major physical activities occurring in the coastal environment contribute a lot on the nature and the state of being well and its degradation.

REFERENCES Carter, R. W. (1989). Coastal environments: an introduction to the physical, ecological, and cultural systems of coastlines. Academic Press Klemas, V. (1997). Remote Sensing of Coastal environment and resources in Physical Processes. In Arthur P. Cracknell, A. P and E. S. Rowan (Eds), The Coastal Zone . (pp. 109-120) CRC Press .

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