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You are here : eLibrary : IAHR World Congress Proceedings : 35th IAHR Congress - Chengdu (2013) : THEME 1 - KEYNOTE AND INVITED LECTURES : Morphological Development of the Dutch Wadden Sea
Morphological Development of the Dutch Wadden Sea
Author : Z.B. Wang, E.P.L. Elias, A.J.F. van der Spek and R. Hoeksma
The Wadden Sea is a coastal wetland of exceptional size. It contains the largest coherent tidal flat area in the world. It has developed a unique geomorphology with its specific combination of physical factors and their interaction with the regional biota. In 2009 the Dutch and large part of the German Wadden Sea became a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The Wadden Sea, the tidal inlets and the North Sea coasts of the Wadden Islands exhibit a dynamic behavior. The dynamics concerns the flow of water and air, and transport, erosion and sedimentation of sand and mud. These processes result in an ever changing morphology of the islands, channels and tidal flats. Although the dynamic development of the morphology is a very characteristic and natural aspect of the Wadden system, there are concerns about developments due to changing environmental conditions and to human interferences. Climate change and especially the associated acceleration of sea level rise may pose a threat to the region. First, a higher sea level can cause problems for safety against flooding. Furthermore, the naturalness of the Wadden Sea area can be affected. In the Netherlands the Delta Programme Wadden area is initiated to develop strategies for sustainable management of the Dutch Wadden Sea area, i.e. guaranty the safety against flooding area with as much as possible the conservation of the natural character of the area. This requires sufficient insight into the morphological development of the system. In this paper we first evaluate the lessons learned from the morphological development of the Dutch Wadden Sea area in the past. It is shown that concerning development on the geological time scale a balance existed between rising sea-levels, erosion of the barrier islands and sedimentation of the tidal flats in the basin. However, during the last century the morphological developments of the Wadden Sea are dictated by shorter (decadal) scale responses of separate inlet systems to large-scale human interventions such as e.g. closure of the Zuiderzee in 1932 and Lauwerszee in 1969. With the understanding from the evaluation we look forward to the morphological development of the area in the future in the light of climate change.
File Size : 1,186,418 bytes
File Type : Adobe Acrobat Document
Chapter : IAHR World Congress Proceedings
Category : 35th IAHR Congress - Chengdu (2013)
Date Published : 18/07/2016
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