Welcome to PAP/RAC Mediterranean Coastal Alert! This newsletter is regularly updated monthly. It contains abstracts of selected current articles and archives on various environmental themes, in particular those dealing with all aspects of coastal issues. The selection is made from the articles published in the leading international scientific journals. This newsletter is an excellent way of keeping you updated with coastal studies and processes.
A marine spatial planning (MSP) initiative - if to be successful - has to be rooted in a thorough understanding of the tradition and structures of the governance system in the area targeted for the initiative. After decades of a mainly sectoral approach towards maritime affairs, governments began to recognise the need for a governance framework that applies a more integrated approach to maritime policy. The new Integrated Maritime Policy of the European Union is only one example for such a changed way of policy and decision making. The assembly of a governance baseline can help to identify the crucial hindering and success factors for the implementation of MSP. A governance baseline has two parts. Part One focuses upon the past and current performance of the governance system as it has responded - or failed to respond - to changes in the condition of ecosystems in a specific locale. Part Two of a baseline outlines a strategic approach to the design of a new program and records the goals, objectives and strategies of MSP implementation. Focus on both governance processes and their outcomes is essential and forms the core justification for documenting governance responses to ecosystem change.
Source: S. B. Olsen, E. Olsen and N. Schaefer (2011); “Governance baselines as a basis for adaptive marine spatial planning”, Journal of Coastal Conservation, Volume 15, Number 2, pages 313-322; From the issue entitled “Special Issue: Maritime Spatial Planning / Guest Edited by Vittorio Barale and Nicole Schaefer”; Received: 11 January 2010; Revised: 26 January 2011; Accepted: 8 March 2011; Published online: 12 April 2011 under DOI: 10.1007/s11852-011-0151-6.
A Coastal Web Atlas (CWA) is a valuable resource for a range of users including coastal managers as it provides easy access to maps, spatial data, coastal information and tools. A trans-Atlantic workshop on “Potentials and Limitations of Coastal Web Atlases”, held in Ireland in July 2006, brought together atlas developers and coastal data experts from Europe and the United States to examine state-of-the-art developments in CWAs and future needs. This paper focuses on workshop outcomes, including what defines a CWA and an overview of international, national, state and regional atlas case studies from both sides of the Atlantic. Results of discussions are presented concerning issues related to design, data, technology and institutional capacity for existing CWAs based on the collective experience of workshop participants. Directions in CWA development and applications since the workshop are also discussed. A major outcome of the workshop was the initiation of an International Coastal Atlas Network. The insights provided give a framework for CWA developers and a useful point of reference for coastal managers and policy makers on atlas potentials and limitations.
Keywords: Coastal atlas; Spatial information; Data management; Web GIS; International Coastal Atlas Network – ICAN.
Source: E. K. O’Dea, E. Dwyer, V. Cummins and D. J. Wright (2011); “Potentials and limitations of Coastal Web Atlases”, Journal of Coastal Conservation; Received: 8 January 2010; Revised: 7 February 2011; Accepted: 8 February 2011; Published online: 3 March 2011 under DOI: 10.1007/s11852-011-0150-7.
We evaluate the greenhouse gas footprint of natural gas obtained by high-volume hydraulic fracturing from shale formations, focusing on methane emissions. Natural gas is composed largely of methane, and 3.6% to 7.9% of the methane from shale-gas production escapes to the atmosphere in venting and leaks over the life-time of a well. These methane emissions are at least 30% more than and perhaps more than twice as great as those from conventional gas. The higher emissions from shale gas occur at the time wells are hydraulically fractured - as methane escapes from flow-back return fluids - and during drill out following the fracturing. Methane is a powerful greenhouse gas, with a global warming potential that is far greater than that of carbon dioxide, particularly over the time horizon of the first few decades following emission. Methane contributes substantially to the greenhouse gas footprint of shale gas on shorter time scales, dominating it on a 20-year time horizon. The footprint for shale gas is greater than that for conventional gas or oil when viewed on any time horizon, but particularly so over 20 years. Compared to coal, the footprint of shale gas is at least 20% greater and perhaps more than twice as great on the 20-year horizon and is comparable when compared over 100 years.
Source: R. W. Howarth, R. Santoro and A. Ingraffea (2011); “Methane and the greenhouse-gas footprint of natural gas from shale formations: A letter”, Climatic Change, Volume 106, Number 4, pages 679-690; From the issue entitled "Climatic Change Letters | Edited by Michael Oppenheimer | pages: 667-710"; Received: 12 November 2010; Accepted: 13 March 2011; Available online: 12 April 2011 under DOI: 10.1007/s10584-011-0061-5.
The construction of Churchill Barrier No. 4 in 1943, a causeway in the Orkney Islands of Scotland, has led to the accretion of a substantial beach-dune system, the so-called “Ayre of Cara”. As a result of the blocking of tidal flows through Water Sound into Scapa Flow, the deposits have accumulated at an average rate of 7.7 × 103 m3 a−1, which is manifested at the land surface as an average lateral advance rate of 1–6 m a−1. The Ayre of Cara is the only accreting dune system in the Orkney Islands and the rate of lateral growth of the beach is one of the fastest in Britain. Since the causeway, one of four built in World War II to defend the British naval fleet, was not intended to “claim” land, the fundamental question raised is who owns the sand that has accumulated? This question is especially pertinent given that the materials deposited have, at one part of the site, been extracted for commercial gain under license granted by the local authority. A series of theoretical ownership scenarios, which pertain to British legal systems, demonstrate that the situation is complex and that a definitive answer is not yet possible as there has not been a case from this specific site brought before a court, or even from a similar site. However, were property disputes to arise in comparable situations in the future, this paper details for the first time the potential level of confusion and complexity that is likely to arise. The findings of this work also have similar relevance for similar situations in other legal systems in the world.
Keywords: Coastal accretion; Causeway; Land ownership; British legal scenarios; Scots Law; Udal Law; English Law.
Source: D. J. Mcglashan and R. W. Duck (2011); “Who owns the sand? The Ayre of Cara, Orkney Islands, Scotland”, The Geographical Journal, Volume 177, Issue 1, pages 35-43, March 2011; Article first published online: 23 April 2010 under DOI: 10.1111/j.1475-4959.2010.00364.x.