The meteorological situation of coastal regions is strongly influenced by the shoreline and by topographic relief. In this instance, we have learned how to take water and land influences into account when predicting changes in meteorology. But we have now stepped beyond the standard meteorological view of coasts affecting air through their complexity, to a new awareness that deposition from the air affects the coastal environment. It is along the coasts that the terrestrial, aquatic, and atmospheric media come into most intimate contact, and where any one of them can affect any other. The importance of the interaction is becoming even more apparent as the population of coastal areas continues to grow, and as demands for energy, food, and recreation are growing even faster. The interactions among the terrestrial, aquatic, and atmospheric media are central in considerations of what must be done to protect an increasingly stressed coastal environment from what could soon be irreversible damage. To generate the understanding necessary to underpin regulations and emissions control strategies, accurate models of pollutant behavior in all of the media must be constructed, and these must then be integrated to protect against the imposition of ineffective controls. The challenges for the atmospheric sciences are daunting. Not only must atmospheric deposition become a focus of attention, but mesoscale models must be constructed to provide the spatial information that existing coarse monitoring networks are incapable of providing alone.
*This lecture was presented at the 78th AMS Annual Meeting in Phoenix, Arizona, on 14 January 1998.