North Frisian Barrier Island is the collective term for three drying shoals due west of the German Halligen in the North Frisian Islands archipelago. The shoals act as natural breakwater for the Halligen and other islands further east. Unpopulated, they remain one of the few areas in the Wadden Sea that are unaffected by direct human interference.
The shoals are subject to constant change and are slowly moving towards the mainland coast to the east. This changes both their location and surface area. During the last 50 years, all three shoals benefitted from their increasing area but their individual development was very diverse. In total, 43.5 million m3 of sand were eroded by wind and water on the west coasts of the shoals, whereas 32.4 million m3 were deposited at the eastern shorelines. Especially Japsand, which is the youngest and smallest of the three shoals, could thereby gain volume and was the fastest moving shoal. Numerical simulations by the University of Kiel have shown the likelihood of a merger between Japsand and Norderoogsand until 2050. This would cover Hallig Norderoog in sand, as well as large areas of mudflats which are still east of the sands as of today.
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