The Solent Forum

Working in parnership for the future

Coastal Processes

Coastal processes is the collective term covering the action of natural physical, oceanographic and meteorological forces on the morphology, composition and stability of the shoreline and nearshore seabed.

Changes to the coastal morphology are driven by natural forces such as waves, tidal currents, and wind, thereby affecting the rate, scale and direction of sediment transport. These processes act on the mobile surface material or solid geology causing erosion, accretion and flooding, and operate over varying scales and distances due to changes in coastal orientation, exposure/sheltering, elevation and geology.

Understanding the dynamic nature of the coast, and the rate and scale of shoreline evolution, is vital for sustainable shoreline management.

Monitoring coastal processes and how these processes interact with defences and other shoreline structures is a key component in delivering integrated and effective management of the coastal zone. Please refer to the Channel Coastal Observatory website for more information on the coastal processes that influence the Solent.

Other good sources of information are the North Solent Shoreline Management Plan and the Isle of Wight Shoreline Management Plan.