Flandrian sea-level changes and impacts of projected sea-level rise on the coastal lowlands of Morecambe Bay and the Thames Estuary, U.K.
This thesis aims to reconstruct the Flandrian sea-level history of Morecambe Bay,
from which, comparisons are made with the contrasting area - the Thames Estuary. This
thesis also aims to assess the likely impacts of projected sea-level rise on the two coastal
areas in the next century.
A detailed investigation of Flandrian stratigraphy has been carried out in the area
of Skelwith Pool, north of Morecambe Bay, by applying stratigraphic survey and pollen
and diatom analyses. The results suggest that a rapid rise in sea level during 8300-7000
B. P. was followed by a rising and fluctuating sea-level during 7000-3500 B. P. The
fluctuating sea-level resulted in alternative clastic and organic deposition. Regional and
local isostatic components and palaeo-tidal variation are analyzed. The relationship
between movements in sea level and changes in deposition are also explored.
Attention is drawn to the uncertainties of the published sea-level scenarios. Two
of the scenarios are adopted. Natural responses of coastal hydrology and sedimentation
to the rising sea-level are explored. Effectiveness of the existing sea defence is assessed.
Geographical Information Systems for the two coastal areas are established and the
coastal lowlands subject to marine inundation are identified in terms of their altitudes and
nature of landuse. Three pilot areas of different types of landuse and topography -
Skelwith Pool, Heysham and Morecambe, and Canvey Island - are selected and impacts
of sea-level rise in these areas are listed.