BGS Research — hazard and resilience modelling

The mainland of Great Britain is surrounded by over 11 000 miles of coastline. It is a very diverse coast in terms of both geology and geomorphology, ranging from the high chalk cliffs of Sussex to the flat expanses of The Wash and Morecambe Bay.

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Coastal resilience is a key issue for our island nation and especially those who live and work around our coastline.

Our fragile coastline

The coast has been shaped by the continual forces of erosion from the wind, waves and tide, and the characteristics and composition of the coastline will dictate its degree of vulnerability. This was starkly demonstrated by the winter storms of 2013–14, which resulted in widespread damage to infrastructure, such as the mainline railway at Dawlish in Devon and undermining of properties along the Norfolk coast at Hemsby.

With climate change forecasts of an increase in the frequency and intensity of winter storms, BGS has released its GeoCoast data product, drawing on existing BGS datasets and expertise and working in collaboration with other organisations to help manage these changes in the future.

Jurassic Coast, Dorset. Image by Roman Grac from Pixabay.
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Jurassic coast, Dorset. Image © Roman Grac from Pixabay.


Our GeoCoast data products offer anyone with assets or an interest in the coastline around Great Britain access to easy-to-use datasets linked to geohazard data. This allows users to interpret potential interdependencies in terms of erosion, flooding, habitat and other vulnerabilities. GeoCoast represents the natural geological coastline as if no coastal defences or made ground are present. This will be of particular value in areas where coastal defences are no longer maintained.

Coastal case studies

A series of storymap coastal case studies are now available via the links below:

Access the GeoCoast datasets

GeoCoast inundation potential under UKCP18 climate scenarios. BGS © UKRI — contains OS data © Crown Copyright 2022.

GeoCoast Premium

GeoCoast is an integrated GIS package of datasets designed to inform and support coastal management and adaptation.

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Varying glacial deposits at Happisburgh, Norfolk

GeoCoast Open

GeoCoast Open provides a range of historic images and diagrams extracted from our archives, memoirs and other publications, which can provide a reference for coastal change.

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If you want to discover more then please contact Katy Lee.

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Little plant in dried cracked mud against a background of city skyline. Photo credit amphotora.

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