EGU General Assembly 2020
© Author(s) 2020. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

A strategy towards estimating a sediment budget for the Baltic Sea coastline of Schleswig-Holstein, Germany

Tanita Averes1, Klaus Schwarzer1, Jacobus Hofstede2, Arfst Hinrichsen3, Hans-Christian Reimers4, and Christian Winter1
Tanita Averes et al.
  • 1Coastal Geology and Sedimentology, Institute of Geosciences, University of Kiel, Kiel, Germany
  • 2Ministry of Energy, Agriculture, the Environment, Nature and Digitalization of Schleswig-Holstein (MELUND), Kiel, Germany
  • 3Agency for Coastal Defence, National Park and Marine Conservation Schleswig-Holstein (LKN.SH), Husum, Germany
  • 4State Agency for Agriculture, Environment and Rural Areas Schleswig-Holstein (LLUR), Flintbek, Germany

Sea level rise along with the changing climate leads to severe enhancement of hydrodynamic impact to coastlines worldwide. Along the Baltic Sea coast of Schleswig-Holstein (Germany), this leads to the erosion of exposed glacial cliffs (up to 30 % of the coastline) and abrasion platforms (unknown extend). Irreversible land loss and seafloor deepening are the consequences, causing socio-economic and environmental concerns in affected areas. However, the adjacent coastal sections benefit from the development as the mobilized material constitutes the main sediment source to the nearshore bar and beach systems. Here, temporal built up of nearshore bars and the deposition at sandspits and beaches functions as natural shore protection.

The heterogenous and dynamic morphology, exposition and geology of the cliff sections and their offshore continuation complicates system understanding and management of the Schleswig-Holstein coastline. The availability of coarse-grained sediments (sand, gravel, stones) from the poorly sorted glacial till, forming the cliffs, is comparatively low. This lack of obtained material suitable to build up a coastal morphology attributes a central role to the source areas and the quantification of the sediment budget regarding coastal preservation.

On this account we attempt to develop a strategy towards a classified coastal sediment budget, which is based on a comprehensive field and literature data base, addressing the highly variable character of the observed coastline described in morphological, morphodynamic, geological, sedimentological, hydrodynamic and anthropogenic parameters.

The coastline of Schleswig-Holstein is structured into 58 active cliff sections for individual description via categorized cliff profiles. Furthermore, 22 abrasion platforms are defined in the offshore region and characterized by descriptive summaries. The data summary reveals well investigated zones (e.g. Schönhagen, Stohl, Heiligenhafen, Brodten), serving as potential pilot areas for complementary studies, but also identifies study areas which require further research.

The literature values for past cliff retreat and eroded sediment volumes bear high uncertainties. This is due to the fact that former studies are based on unequal spatial extend of cliff sections, variable time intervals and differing methods. Further, computation of eroded material volumes is lacking important input parameters, e.g. the degree of compaction and the grain size distribution. This is considered for budget calculations and their confidence for individual coastal units in template form.

The current study compiles and visualizes the heterogenous data for further scientific applications. The project aims to support future studies on the sediment availability and transport in the near-shore system using hydrodynamic modelling and thus creates a sound scientific base for system understanding and new governmental regulations concerning coastal protection measures at the Schleswig-Holstein Baltic Sea.

How to cite: Averes, T., Schwarzer, K., Hofstede, J., Hinrichsen, A., Reimers, H.-C., and Winter, C.: A strategy towards estimating a sediment budget for the Baltic Sea coastline of Schleswig-Holstein, Germany, EGU General Assembly 2020, Online, 4–8 May 2020, EGU2020-15894,, 2020

This abstract will not be presented.