Project Title: A cosmogenic-nuclide approach to quantifying the drivers of rocky coastline erosion under changing climate and sea-level conditions.
Researcher: Gergor Rink
The Irish coastline is in constant state of dynamic fluctuation, with clear implications for natural environments, human populations, and infrastructure. This project will investigate changes in the erosion of rocky coastlines by applying cosmogenic beryllium-10 as a geochemical marker for erosion rates. We will then compare these erosion records to climate and sea-level records to assess the potential contributions of climate change and sea-level conditions to the stability of the Irish coast. Additionally, we will simulate possible effects of climate and sea-level changes on the potential future evolution of Ireland’s coastline.
This project will use cosmogenic beryllium-10 geochronology to investigate long-term erosion rates of Ireland’s rocky coastlines and identify the drivers of coastal change. A rising sea level and erosion of shorelines and cliffs are potential geohazards for coastal areas. Under rapidly changing environmental conditions, the impetus for this research is quantifying the vulnerability of our coastlines to shifting meteorological and sea-level conditions. Bedrock samples will be collected from transects along shore platforms at locations within the tidal zone, and concentrations of Be-10 measured via accelerator mass-spectrometry. Subsequently, we will use numerical modelling to simulate plausible effects of changing climatic parameters and sea-level conditions on erosion. The aim of these simulations is to obtain information about the potential future evolution of Ireland’s coastline under anthropogenic climate warming and to establish the contribution of those parameters to coastal vulnerability.