Monday, 22 March 2021 13:19

New map shows how Europe’s coast is changing

EM2 21 News Costal MapThe new EMODnet Geology shoreline-migration map, freely accessible from the EMODnet Geology portal (, allows policy makers, together with national and regional coastal managers, to determine large-scale coastal behaviour and identify areas of rapid change. It is based on field measurements and aerial photography and covers time periods up to decades. The map is particularly valuable for cliffs, which are prevalent along European coastlines, particularly since state-of-the-art satellite-monitoring methods are not yet suitable for imaging erosion of non-sandy types of coastline. This important data product allows users to visualise pan-European coastal behaviour at different spatial scales. A built-in search and zoom functionality enables online users to distinguish areas of landward migration (erosion or submergence), stability, and seaward migration (accretion or emergence). The underlying downloadable dataset offers additional information on measured or derived annual migration rates. The map also provides the public with useful insights into one of Europe’s most obvious climate-change effects: loss of land through coastal erosion. Most importantly, field and satellite data can now be compared on a pan-European scale, highlighting common spatial patterns as well as prominent discrepancies that require further work to optimise and align the respective methodologies.