The contribution of diminishing river sand loads to beach erosion worldwide
Abstract. The erosion of sandy beaches can have a profound impact on human activities and ecosystems, especially on developed coasts. The scientific community has, to date, primarily focused on the potential impact of changes in sea level and waves on sandy beaches. While being abundantly recognized at local to regional scales in numerous studies over the last two decades, the contribution of diminishing fluvial sediment supply to sandy beach erosion at the global scale is still to be investigated. Here, we present a model of sediment budget computed from the balance between land riverine input and coastal transport. It results in a global picture of sand pathway from land to sea. Our analysis demonstrates the massive impact of the thousands of river dams on beach erosion worldwide. Sand can be mobilized with wave-induced longshore transport over large distances, in general toward the equator, within sediment cells, often at distance from the outlets.
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