10 Nov 2023
 | 10 Nov 2023
Status: this preprint is open for discussion.

Changing Sea Level, Changing Shorelines: Comparison of Remote Sensing Observations at the Terschelling Barrier Island

Bene Aschenneller, Roelof Rietbroek, and Daphne van der Wal

Abstract. Sea level rise is associated with increased coastal erosion and inundation. However, the effects of sea level change on the shoreline can be enhanced or counteracted by vertical land motion and morphological processes. Therefore, knowledge about the individual contributions of sea level change, vertical land motion and morphodynamics on shoreline changes is necessary to make informed choices when applying coastal defence measures. Here, we assess the potential of remote sensing techniques to detect a geometrical relationship between sea level rise and shoreline retreat for a case study at the Terschelling barrier island at the Northern Dutch coast. First, we find that sea level observations from satellite radar altimetry retracked with ALES can represent sea level variations between 2002 and 2022 at the shoreline when the region to extract altimetry timeseries is chosen carefully. Second, results for cross-shore timeseries of satellite-derived shorelines extracted from optical remote sensing images can change considerably dependent on choices made for tidal correction and parameter settings during the computation of timeseries. While absolute shoreline positions can differ on average by more than 200 m, the average trend differences are below 1 m yr-1. Third, by intersecting the 1992 land elevation with time variable sea level, we find that inundation through sea level rise caused on average -0.3 m yr-1 of shoreline retreat between 1992 and 2022. The actual shoreline movement in this period was on average between -2.8 m yr-1 and -3.2 m yr-1, leading to the interpretation that the larger part of shoreline changes at Terschelling is driven by morphodynamics. We conclude that the combination of sea level from radar altimetry, satellite derived shorelines and land elevation provides valuable information about the influence of sea level rise, vertical land motion and morphodynamics on shoreline movements.

Bene Aschenneller et al.

Status: open (until 26 Dec 2023)

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Bene Aschenneller et al.

Bene Aschenneller et al.


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Short summary
Shorelines retreat or advanve in response to sea level changes, subsidence or uplift of the ground, and morphological processes (sedimentation and erosion). We show that the geometrical influence of each of these drivers on shoreline movements can be quantified by combining different remote sensing observations, including radar altimetry, LiDAR and optical satellite images. The focus here is to illustrate the uncertainties of these observations by comparing datasets that cover similar processes.