Urbanized coastal lagoons in the age of climate change

A coastal lagoon is defined and described as:

“A body of water separated from larger bodies of water by a natural barrier. Coastal lagoons form along gently sloping coasts. They are generally shallower than atoll lagoons and tend to be separated from the ocean by an island, reef, or sand bank. Most of the time, coastal lagoons are connected to the ocean by an inlet.”

Source: https://oceanservice.noaa.gov/facts/lagoon.html
Source: researchgate.net

Given their shallow nature, coastal lagoons face a number of potential threats from climate change. These include, but are not limited to:

  • Increased water temperatures
  • Sea-level rise
  • Storm surge
  • Increased precipitation which can lead to erosion, pollution runoff, submergence of lagoon barriers, flooding, and potential drying of the surrounding wetlands.

In addition, the natural barriers that separate coastal lagoons from larger water bodies may limit the normal flushing of the waters within the lagoon, therefore increasing pollution from runoff within the lagoon’s catchment area. This could also lead to eutrophication from increased nutrient load in the lagoon.

Algae bloom in Indian River Lagoon – Source: ocenabites.org

For those coastal lagoons with large cities situated on them, other factors at play include land use and transportation development pressures, dredging for shipping channels, wakes created by shipping and boating activities, and for a surprising number of these twelve lagoons, threats from nearby fossil fuel drilling, refining, and related activities.

Source: travelweekly.com

Below are satellite images of some of the most urbanized lagoons in the world. Bear in mind that other terms tend to be used for lagoons in various parts of the world, including “bay,” “lake,” or “river.” Large metropolitan areas located on coastal lagoons include:

Source: en.wikipedia.org

Ciudad de Carmen – Source: patiabierta.mx

Given the size of these metropolitan areas and the greater propensity for stormwater runoff and urban pollution, the coastal lagoons associated with these cities will be even more susceptible to the impacts from climate change listed previously in this post.

The twelve (12) lagoon images provided include:

Ébrié Lagoon in the Ivory Coast

Source: maps.google.com

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Indian River Lagoon in Florida

Source: maps.google.com

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Jamaica Bay Lagoon in New York

Source: maps.google.com

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Lagos Lagoon in Nigeria

Source: maps.google.com

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Laguna de Terminos in Mexico

Source: maps.google.com

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Lago de Maracaibo in Venezuela

Source: maps.google.com

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Lagos dos Patos in Brazil

Source: maps.google.com

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Lake Nokoue Lagoon in Benin

Source: mapsa.google.com

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Lake Borgne Lagoon in Louisiana

Source: maps.google.com

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Szczecin Lagoon on the border of Poland and Germany

Source: maps.google.com

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Venetian Lagoon in Italy

Source: maps.google.com

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Vistula Lagoon on the border of Russia and Poland

Source: maps.google.com

SOURCES:

This entry was posted in Africa, agriculture, cities, climate change, culture, economic development, ecosystems, energy, environment, Europe, geography, Geology, historic preservation, history, industry, infrastructure, land use, Latin America, Maps, Mexico, nature, North America, pictures, planning, politics, pollution, rivers/watersheds, Russia, shipping, South America, spatial design, sprawl, Statistics, sustainability, topography, tourism, Trade, traffic, transportation, Travel, urban planning, Wildlife and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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