Coral Reefs

, Volume 5, Issue 1, pp 13–18 | Cite as

Sensitivity of coral cays to climatic variations, southern Great Barrier Reef, Australia

  • P. G. Flood


Analysis of available wind data for the years 1962–80 from Heron Island which is located within the southern Great Barrier Reef indicates that the annual wind energy vector has oscillated within a 45 degree arc from the SSE in the early 1960's to ESE in the late 1970's. Such changes in wind direction influence the direction of propagation of the waves which mould the shape of coral sand cays in this region. Documentation is provided which shows that the variability of the shoreline positions on Erskine Island, an uninhabited vegetated sand cay reflects this change. The implication is that contemporary shoreline erosion on Heron Island is not caused by the development associated with the tourist resort there. It is a symptom of the change in the propagation direction of the wind-induced waves which is related to long-term climatic change.


Climatic Change Wind Direction Climatic Variation Propagation Direction Sedimentology 
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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 1986

Authors and Affiliations

  • P. G. Flood
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of GeologyUniversity of New EnglandArmidaleAustralia

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