Observation of cause-effect patterns of change in coastal environments provides insights into vulnerable areas and supports prediction and adaptation to flooding and erosion. Historic and periodic (6-8 year intervals) imagery from the Landsat archive is used to investigate transformations in the Atlantic coast of two Scottish islands over the period 1989-2011. Supervised classification of spectrally normalized images followed by change detection and spatial analysis reveals the patterns of change and the location of the most dynamic coastal areas. Quantitative measures of recent shifts and movement rates of relevant coastal lines, such as the lower limit of land-based vegetation are assessed with the Digital Shoreline Analysis System (DSAS). While very low rates are indicated for horizontal changes in the position of the lower limit of land-based vegetation (0.3 m y-1), specific areas have been subject to high rates of coastal progradation as well as erosion (e.g., 2.5 m y-1 at Stilligarry). Information derived from satellite data supports the characterization of geomorphologically dynamic coasts at regional scales. With a rich and open access archive of imagery, a commitment to continuity, and compatibility with the Earth observation missions of other space programs, the Landsat mission offers useful and otherwise unavailable data for monitoring of coastal areas.
- shoreline change
- spatial analysis
- Digital Shoreline Analysis System
- Scottish Outer Hebrides