Assessing and Monitoring Subsidence Hazards in Coastal Lowland around Europe

Subcoast Map

SubCoast is a collaborative project involving 12 partners from seven European countries that aim to develop a pan-European service for assessing subsidence hazards in coastal lowlands based on satellite and in situ measurements and numerical models. The core SubCoast product observes terrain height as a function of time, which can be coupled with additional data (such as variations in sea level) in order to improve our understanding of these coupled coastal dynamics.

BGS led the work package in which all SubCoast products were generated, and were solely responsible for the development of the European Integration WP, which aimed to generate a spatially distributed dataset relevant to flood risk around the European coastline, depicting subsidence and sea level rise, based on combination of geological information from OneGeology Europe and PSI ground motion data. This dataset extended the SubCoast local scale services to Europe and represents a screening product showing potential users expected rates of ground motion in areas of interest (e.g. D3.5.1 European Integration User Requirements).

The SubCoast Potential Subsidence product shows the potential for European coastal zone areas to undergo subsidence due to the natural processes of compaction, dissolution and shrinkage of geological units. The use of OneGeology Europe data has enabled the team to predict which geological deposits might undergo such processes, and to map these out across the European coastline.

Measurements of ground motion from satellite radar data were used to calibrate the geological data, thereby enabling potential rates of motion in millimetres per year to be assigned to the European coastline. Calibration inputs from the PanGeo project were used: they consisted of interpreted polygons of observed motions and associated Persistent Scatterer Interferometry data. Motion rates were then extrapolated to other OneGeology polygons of the same deposit type.

The results of the European Integration activities have been adopted by the European Environment Agency and published in the EEA Report No. 12/2013 Balancing the future of Europe's coasts — knowledge base for integrated management.


Contact Colm Jordan for more information.