Encyclopedia of Coastal Science

2005 Edition
| Editors: Maurice L. Schwartz

Energy and Sediment Budgets of the Global Coastal Zone

  • Douglas L. Inman
  • Scott A. Jenkins
Reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/1-4020-3880-1_133

The energy for the global coastal zone is primarily powered by solar irradiance and tides. The solar irradiance warms the earth’s surface unevenly, driving wind and current systems that redistribute heat and generate storms with rainfall and snow that erode landmasses. The erosion products of sediment and dissolved solids are carried to the sea by rivers and glaciers. Winds, waves, tides, and currents transport and redistribute sediment and sculpt coastal landforms.

Solar irradiance provides an energy flux of about 1.8×1014 kilowatt (kW) to the earth. About 2.5×109 kW of mechanical energy in wind-generated waves is incident on the world’s 440,000 km coastlines. Another 2.2×109 kW of tidal energy is expended in shallow seas. The total flux of mechanical energy of all kinds in shallow waters of the coastal zone is about 5.5×109gg kW. Some of this energy is expended in coastal erosion and transport of the erosion products from the land, and the remainder drives frictional processes and...

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    Accretion and Erosion Waves on BeachesGoogle Scholar
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    Beach ProcessesGoogle Scholar
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    Climate Patterns in the Coastal ZoneGoogle Scholar
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© Springer 2005

Authors and Affiliations

  • Douglas L. Inman
  • Scott A. Jenkins

There are no affiliations available