Climatic Versus Geomorphologic Changes: Influence on Landing Processes in Eastern Coasts of North America


  • J. J. Diez


Coastal morphology, coastal settlements, sea level rise, coastal evolution.


Since Bruun's rule which linked shoreline regressions and coastal erosions due to them, "sea level rise" has increasingly drawn the attention of different fields of knowledge, particularly coastal sciences and engineering. Certainly, it has been taken into consideration more for future climatic estimations than for analysis of the past climate. Climatic changes must have had a strong influence on the development of sailing routes. They must also have affected the access to land through their effect on beach slopes and on the configuration of bays, estuaries, lagoons and Inlets, all of them linked to sheltered harbor areas. They could also be significant factors in landing and settling processes as well as other climatic and environmental considerations have affected life conditions, especially in low and wet lands.

Columbus' "obsessive" search for a pass towards Cipango and China cannot explain the delay of the European settlements on the whole east coast of North-America. This paper also deals with other types of climatic impacts on coastal evolution. The possibility of identifying those impacts which are really due to the "sea level rise" is critically analyzed.