Satellite Imagery Analysis for Coastal Erosion Assessment of Latvia
Coastal erosion is a global issue with significant economic and environmental consequences. Latvia, with more than 500 km long coastline consisting of loose, sandy sediments, is one of the countries facing the adverse effects of coastal erosion. With climate change, the rise in sea levels is predicted to accelerate the process of shoreline change. The possible increase in erosion rates pose significant risks to the coastal environment, leading to a necessity to develop a consistent monitoring solution to account for this process.
To address this issue, Latvian Environment, Geology and Meteorology Centre (LEGMC) uses satellite imagery analysis techniques to monitor coastal erosion in Latvia. We use openly available Sentinel-2 satellite data to create a catalogue of historical Latvian coastline change, utilizing various image processing and unsupervised machine-learning algorithms. By combining these data with yearly high resolution drone measurements in a pilot area near Bernāti (Latvia), we map the shoreline evolution from 2015 to 2023. Our findings provide crucial insights for future coastal management strategies and policies in Latvia, identifying areas of high vulnerability.
As the project approaches its last phase in 2023, our analysis will be readily published in an online tool on LEGMC website, where anyone interested will be able to interactively view and access the information. The results and methodology are created to be extensible in the future, as more Sentinel-2 measurements become readily available.