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Beach Sand Colour: the Need for a Standardised Assessment Procedure

Enzo Pranzini and Giovanni Vitale
Journal of Coastal Research
Special Issue No. 61. Proceedings of the Third International Conference: MANAGEMENT OF RECREATIONAL RESOURCES 27th - 30th October 2010 Grosseto, Tuscany, ITALY (2011), pp. 66-69
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/41510778
Page Count: 4
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Abstract

Beach sand colour is one of the most important components of coastal landscape and particularly, a fundamental factor for beach ecology, as it influences sand temperature. Nevertheless, sand colour is often described in a subjective and qualitative manner, using non-standardised terminology and leading to noncomparable results in environmental studies which consider this aspect. Perceptive distance between colours can be measured, and perceived colour can be similarly assessed, if appropriate colour spaces are used; however, this cannot be achieved by an observer and is not frequently used in imaging systems. Several beach nourishments, performed with limited attention to colour compatibility, have changed the coastal landscape and created conflicts among stakeholders in many locations, resulting in legal controversies. The present paper compares the different "colour spaces" currently available for sand colour assessment (RGB, Munsell, CBEL*a* b*), tests some procedures for analysing sediments of different size and explains the need for using uniform colour spaces, both for environmental description and for fill sediment compatibility assessment. Case studies of beach nourishments performed in Italy are used to show the relevance of this aspect in Coastal Zone Management.

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