A decades-old mathematical model is being inappropriately used in at least 26 nations to make potentially costly predictions about how shorelines will retreat in response to rising sea levels, two coastal scientists contended in the Friday, March 19, 2004, issue of the research journal Science.
"Models can be a hazard to society, and this is certainly an example of such," wrote Orrin Pilkey of Duke Universitys Nicholas School of the Environment and Earth Sciences, and J. Andrew Cooper of the Coastal Research Group at the University of Ulster in Northern Ireland, in a Perspectives commentary.
The mathematical equation, called the Bruun rule, "is a one model fits all approach unsuitable in a highly complex natural environment with large spatial variations in shoreline retreat," the two authors added. "Even under ideal conditions ... the rule has never been credibly shown to provide accurate predictions."
Monte Basgall | EurekAlert!
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