Étretat is slowly disappearing: how accelerated erosion and climate change threaten Normandy’s jewel

The mayor of Fécamp, David Roussel, said that in 2022 alone the authorities mentioned 60 incidents of less importance, but which express deep concern in the region as a result of climate changes that provoke capricious weather.

Over the years, Normandy has had a succession of hot and dry summers, often followed by heavy rains and then periods of frost down to -5°C and -10°C. This freezing allowed water to seep into the rock to form increasingly large cracks.

Apart from these localized weather events, sea level rise is contributing to the retreat of the coastline, not only in Normandy. On the Atlantic coast, the town of Soulac-sur-Mer has faced the most significant coastal erosion in France, receding at around 2.5 m per year, endangering many buildings.

Coastal erosion is a problem that the French authorities take particularly seriously because, if the phenomenon is known, it develops much faster than expected and the main culprit is the same: climate change.

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