Systems concepts on the coast


System - a process or collection of processes that transfrms inputs ino outputs.

3 properties:

1. Elements - the parts that make up a system.

2. Attributes - characteristics of the elements that may be perceived and measured.

3. Relationships - associations that occur between elements and attributes.


  • Abstractions of reality.
  • Behaviour, involving inputs, processing and outputs of material, information or energy.
  • Have functional as well as structural relationships between each other.

Closed system - transfer of energy into and beyond the system but no transfer of matter.

Open system - both energy and matter transfer freely into and out of the system.

Isolated system - no interactions with anything outside the system boundary; no input or output ofenergy or matter. Only theoretical.


  • Energy - waves,wind, tides.
  • Matter - sediment, fluvial (river) processes of erosion, glaciation, cliff/coastline erosion, sub-aerial erosion.


  • Beaches, dunes, salt marshes, cliff…


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