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Mapping the Sandy Beach Evolution Around Seaports at the Scale of the African Continent

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Faculty of Civil Engineering and Geosciences, Delft University of Technology, PO Box 5048, 2600 GA Delft, The Netherlands
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Department of Harbour Coastal & Offshore Engineering, Deltares, PO Box 177, 2600 MH Delft, The Netherlands
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School of Earth and Environmental Sciences, University of Queensland, St Lucia, Brisbane, QLD 4072, Australia
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Faculty of Technology, Policy and Management, Delft University of Technology, PO Box 5015, 2600 GA Delft, The Netherlands
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Institute for Water Research, Rhodes University, PO Box 94, Grahamstown 6140, South Africa
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Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
J. Mar. Sci. Eng. 2019, 7(5), 151; https://doi.org/10.3390/jmse7050151
Received: 19 April 2019 / Revised: 6 May 2019 / Accepted: 13 May 2019 / Published: 16 May 2019
(This article belongs to the Section Coastal Engineering)
In Africa, several new seaport developments are being considered. In sedimentary environments, such port developments can have adverse impacts on the evolution of adjacent coastlines. To learn from past port engineering practice, we created a unique database containing the coastline evolution and characteristics of 130 existing African seaports. Whereas the systematic mapping of coastal impacts was previously hampered by data availability, innovative automated satellite image processing techniques have enabled us to intercompare ports at an unprecedented continental scale. We found large geographical differences with respect to the beach evolution. The total detected changes in the beach area between 1984 and 2018 totaled 44 km2, of which ca. 23 km2 is accretion and ca. 21 km2 is erosion. The top 10% “hotspot” ports account for more than 65% of these changes. These hotspots exhibit common characteristics, namely: they are located on open coastlines, have large alongshore sediment transport potential, and have large cross-shore breakwaters. Although these driving characteristics are well established in coastal engineering theory, our results indicate that the beaches adjacent to the existing seaports have been and remain seriously affected by these drivers. Our results can be used to inform beach maintenance strategies for existing seaports and to support planners and engineers to minimize long-term coastal impacts of port expansions and new port developments in Africa in the future. View Full-Text
Keywords: coastline dynamics; coastal erosion; sediment transport; port design; satellite imagery; sustainable ports coastline dynamics; coastal erosion; sediment transport; port design; satellite imagery; sustainable ports
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de Boer, W.; Mao, Y.; Hagenaars, G.; de Vries, S.; Slinger, J.; Vellinga, T. Mapping the Sandy Beach Evolution Around Seaports at the Scale of the African Continent. J. Mar. Sci. Eng. 2019, 7, 151.

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  • Externally hosted supplementary file 1
    Doi: 10.4121/uuid:183697fc-afe2-4607-be0a-e63a042ff628
    Description: Pan-African Seaports Database
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