Glossary of Terms

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May be classified as non-renewable (e.g. coal, oil) and renewable. The latter may further be classified as unconditionally renewable (e.g. solar, tidal or wind energy) and conditionally renewable (e.g. fish, forest products). Conditionally renewable sources will last indefinitely if not over-exploited because that part of the resource that is used can be replaced through natural processes.

In beach terminology an indefinite zone extending seaward from the shoreline well beyond the breaker zone.

  • The zone which extends from the swash zone to the position marking the start of the offshore zone, typically at water depths of the order of 20m.

The ocean circulation pattern composed of the nearshore currents and the coastal currents.

The current system characterised primarily by wave action in and near the breaker zone, and which consists of four parts: the shoreward mass transport of water; longshore currents; seaward return flow, including rip currents; and the longshore movement of the expanding heads of rip currents. See also nearshore circulation.

An organisation, usually non-profit, that is not part of the central, local, or municipal government.

Multiple, not easily identifiable sources of pollution (e.g. agriculture, urban areas). Also called diffuse sources.

The process of replenishing a beach. It may occur naturally by longshore transport, or be brought about artificially by the deposition of dredged material or materials trucked in from upland sites.

The input of fertilising chemicals to the nearshore environment, usually via non-point source runoff and sewage effluent. Nutrient loading often leads to algal booms.

Substances that are essential for the growth of marine organisms that perform primary production (algae, bacteria, and plants). Excess nutrients, especially nitrogen and phosphorus, can be major pollutants.