NASA: 24 percent of Earth's sandy beaches are eroding in protected marine areas
Worldwide, the study found that 24 per cent of Earth’s sandy beaches are eroding, a coastline distance of almost 50,000 miles, NASA said in a statement.
The world's sandy shorelines are declining in protected marine areas which could threaten plant and animal species and cultural heritage sites, a global survey of beaches with satellite data from NASA and the US Geological Survey shows.
This allowed them to quickly and automatically examine 30 years of data and determine how many of Earth's beaches are sandy instead of rocky or icy, and how those sandy beaches are changing with time.
"It only took about two months’ calculation time to generate this data set of annual shorelines between 1984 and 2016 for the entire world," said Arjen Luijendijk, a coastal development expert at Deltares, an independent research institute in the Netherlands.
"The alternative of taking aerial images, placing the images in world coordinates, and sometimes manually detecting shorelines, takes weeks or months to capture a coast longer than 50 miles," Luijendijk said.
The researchers were able to break down these results by continent to find that beaches in Australia and Africa are experiencing more erosion than growth.
"At this point we think the continental differences in beach erosion and accretion are largely influenced by human interventions along the coast," Luijendijk said.
"Our next steps will focus on distinguishing the human impact from the natural dynamics and trends," he said.
Protected marine areas include sanctuaries and reserves, national parks, wildlife refuges and national monuments, and may be designated for their biological, ecological or cultural value.
(This story has not been edited by Devdiscourse staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)