How the interaction of land sea and air creates the coastal system

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Saiganesh Kanu Lim
Explain how the interaction of land sea and air creates the coastal system
In this essay I am going to write about the different coastal processes that occur at the sea which
help form different landforms and cause cliffs to retreat in a certain way.
The main types of inputs in the coastal system include waves and tides. These two factors influence
each other greatly. Tides are variations in the sea level that are caused by the gravitational pull of the
Sun and the Moon. The relative distance in height between low tide and high tide is called the tidal
range. Tidal range can affect the type of waves that can be formed before approaching the coastline.
There are two main types of waves, constructive and destructive.
The diagrams below explain how constructive and destructive waves work
However, the
beach gradient
can change
over time
according to
the type of
sediment that is
deposited on
the beach. If it is a sandy beach, sand can be transported by the long shore drift or can be provided
from nearby headlands. For sandy beaches there is smaller material present, meaning that there are
smaller gaps between the particles. This would result in less water percolating through it making
backwash stronger, causing a lower friction level resulting in a much gentler beach profile.
The opposite happens for shingle beaches. Because there are larger gaps between the particles,
water percolates through shingle very easily, causing the backwash to be weak, so the water has
little energy to move back down the beach. Consequently there are high friction levels, which
eventually result to a much steeper beach profile.

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Saiganesh Kanu Lim
However physical coastline can affect coastal system at the coastline. Subaerial processes, such as
weathering can occur, or erosion can occur via different means at wave level acting on the cliff face.
Erosion at the coast occurs in different forms.
1. Abrasion/Corrasion occurs when the waves throw rocks and sediment against cliffs, grinding and
breaking away the rock surface.
2. Corrosion happens when the acids in seawater dissolve rocks.
3.…read more


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