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Vulnerability and Adaptation Assessments Hands-On Training Workshop, Paraguay, August 14-18 2006 Impact, vulnerability and adaptation assessment for coastal zones Outline Drivers & impacts on coastal areas Adaptation options V&A tools & data sources Integrating mechanisms Conclusions

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Vulnerability and Adaptation Assessments Hands-On Training Workshop,Paraguay, August 14-18 2006Impact, vulnerability and adaptation assessment for coastal zones

  • Drivers & impacts on coastal areas
  • Adaptation options
  • V&A tools & data sources
  • Integrating mechanisms
  • Conclusions
climate change and coastal resources
Climate Change and Coastal Resources
  • Coastal resources will be affected by a number of consequences of climate change, including:
    • Higher sea levels
    • Higher sea temperatures
    • Changes in precipitation patterns and coastal runoff
    • Changed oceanic conditions
    • Changes in storm tracks, frequencies, and intensities
the main biophysical effects of relative sea level rise

Table 5.2. The main biophysical effects of relative sea level rise, including relevant interacting factors. Some factors (e.g., sediment supply) appear twice because they may be influenced by both climate and nonclimate factors (adapted from Nicholls, 2002).

Biogeophysical effect

Other relevant factors



Inundation, flood and storm damage


Wave and storm climate, morphological changes, sediment supply

Sediment supply, flood management, morphological changes, land claim

Backwater effect (river)


Catchment management and land use

Wetland loss (and change)

CO2 fertilization

Sediment supply

Sediment supply, migration space, direct destruction


Sediment supply, wave and storm climate

Sediment supply

Saltwater intrusion

Surface waters


Catchment management and land use



Land use, aquifer use

Rising water tables/impeded drainage


Land use, aquifer use

The Main Biophysical Effects of Relative Sea Level Rise
some climate change factors

Biogeophysical effects

Climate factor

Direction of change

Some Climate Change Factors

Table 5.1. Some climate change and related factors relevant to coasts and their biogeophysical effects (taken from Nicholls, 2002)

Sea water temperature (of surface waters)


Increased coral bleaching; migration of coastal species toward higher latitudes; decreased incidence of sea ice at higher latitudes

Precipitation intensity/run-off

Intensified hydrological cycle, with wide regional variations

Changed fluvial sediment supply; changed flood risk in coastal lowlands; but also consider catchment management

Wave climate

Poorly known, but significant temporal and spatial variability expected

Changed patterns of erosion and accretion; changed storm impacts

Storm track, frequency, and intensity

Poorly known, but significant temporal and spatial variability expected

Changed occurrence of storm flooding and storm damage

Increased productivity in coastal ecosystems; decreased CaCO3 saturation impacts on coral reefs

Atmospheric CO2


current global predictions of sea level rise
Current Global Predictions of Sea Level Rise
  • IPCC Third Assessment Report (TAR) range for global-mean rise in sea level is between 9 cm and 88 cm by 2100
  • Change outside this range is possible, especially if Antarctica becomes a significant source
  • There is a “commitment to sea level rise” even if atmospheric GHG concentrations are stabilized
processes controlling sea level change
Processes Controlling Sea-LevelChange
  • Relative sea-level changes
land subsidence mexico city
Land Subsidence Mexico City


subsidence in mexico city and the chalco plain
Subsidence in Mexico City and the Chalco Plain

Source: Adapted from Ortega et al., 1993

factors in local predictions
Factors in Local Predictions
  • Relative sea level rise: global and regional components plus land movement
    • Land uplift can counter any global sea level rise
    • Land subsidence can exacerbate any global sea level rise
    • Other dynamic oceanic and climatic effects cause regional differences (oceanic circulation, wind and pressure, and ocean-water density differences add additional component)

Sea Level Rise at New York City1850 to 2100

IPCC TAR range

due to SRES emission scenarios

McCarthy et al., 2001

other climate change hurricane katrina
Other Climate Change(Hurricane Katrina)


caman peru and tsunami vulnerability
Caman, Peru, and Tsunami Vulnerability

atolls belize
Atolls, Belize


coral impacts
Coral Impacts
  • “Recent global increases in reef ecosystem degradation and mortality are exceeding the adaptive capacity of coral reef organisms and communities. The severity of this crisis will only intensify with future changes in the global climate.
  • While the net effects of climate change on coral reefs will be negative, coral reef organisms and communities are not necessarily doomed to total extinction.
  • Multiple environmental management strategies, from local to global, will be necessary to ensure the long-term sustainability of the world’s coral reef ecosystems.”

Buddemeier et al, 2004

coastal megacities 8 million people forecast for 2010







New York


Los Angeles









Rio de Janeiro

Buenos Aires


Coastal Megacities (>8 million people)Forecast for 2010
rio de janeiro s waterfront 1919
Rio de Janeiro's waterfront, 1919

rio de janeiro brazil
Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

havana cuba
Havana, Cuba


Controls on Coastal Position



littoral sediment



supply (±ve)

boundary conditions (external)

fluvial-delta inlet bypassing



resuspension & inlet bypassing

lagoon basin mud

mid-shelf mud

lower shoreface


marine sand wedge

inner-shelf sand









coastal tract

rio de la plata
Rio de la Plata

seawifs sediment plumes off the coast of chile
SeaWiFS: sediment plumes off the coast of Chile

beach erosion barbados
Beach Erosion, Barbados

Before Storm After Storm


biogeophysical effects of sea level rise
Biogeophysical Effects of Sea Level Rise
  • Displacement of coastal lowlands and wetlands
  • Increased coastal erosion
  • Increased flooding (frequency and depth)
  • Salinization of surface and groundwaters
  • Plus others
ecosystem loss
Ecosystem Loss
  • Inundation and displacement of wetlands
    • e.g., mangroves, saltmarsh, intertidal areas
  • Areas provide
    • Flood protection
    • Nursery areas for fisheries
    • Important for nature conservation
  • Loss of valuable resources, tourism
coastal ecosystems at risk
Coastal Ecosystems at Risk
  • KEY:
  • mangroves, o saltmarsh, x coral reefs
reefs and mangroves latin america and caribbean
Reefs and Mangroves, Latin America and Caribbean

united nations environment programme interactive mapping tool
United Nations Environment Programme Interactive Mapping Tool


coastal squeeze of coastal wetlands
Coastal Squeeze (of coastal wetlands)

Sea Level Rise

(a) no hard defenses

(b) hard defenses

socioeconomic impacts
Socioeconomic Impacts
  • Loss of property and land
  • Increased flood risk/loss of life
  • Damage to coastal protection works and other infrastructure
  • Loss of renewable and subsistence resources
  • Loss of tourism, recreation, and coastal habitats
  • Impacts on agriculture and aquaculture through decline in soil and water quality
responding to coastal change including sea level rise
Responding to Coastal Change(including sea level rise)
  • Retreat
  • Accommodation
  • Protect
    • Soft
    • Hard
adaptation methods
Adaptation Methods
  • Retreat
    • Managed retreat
    • Relocation from high risk zones
  • Accommodation
    • Public awareness
    • Natural disaster management planning
adaptation methods continued
Adaptation Methods (continued)
  • Protect
    • Hard options
      • Revetments, breakwaters, groins
      • Floodgates, tidal barriers
    • Soft options
      • Beach/wetland nourishment
      • Dune restoration
beach nourishment nevis
Beach Nourishment, Nevis

Eroded Beach Re-nourished Beach


example approach to adaptation measures
Example Approach to Adaptation Measures
  • Climate change predictions
    • Rise in sea level
    • Increase in number and intensity of tropical weather systems
    • Increase in severity of storm surges
    • Changes in rainfall
example approach to adaptation measures continued
Example Approach to Adaptation Measures (continued)
  • Coastal impacts
    • Damage to property/infrastructure
    • Damage/loss of coastal/marine ecosystems
    • Destruction of hotels and tourism facilities
    • Increased risk of disease
    • Damage/loss of fisheries infrastructure
    • General loss of biodiversity
    • Submergence/inundation of coastal areas
example approach to adaptation measures continued44
Example Approach to Adaptation Measures (continued)
  • Adaptation (retreat, protect, accommodate)
    • Improved physical planning and development control
    • Strengthening/implementation of EIA regulations
    • Formulation of Coastal Zone Management Plan
    • Monitoring of coastal habitats, including beaches
    • Formulation of national climate change policy
    • Public awareness and education
coastal vulnerability assessment
Coastal Vulnerability Assessment
  • Principles
  • Older tools
  • Top down
  • Bottom up
methods to assess impacts of sea level rise
Methods to Assess Impacts of Sea Level Rise
  • Sea level rise & climate change scenarios
  • Screening assessment
  • Erosion
  • Flooding
  • Top-down
  • Bottom up
screening assessment
Screening Assessment
  • Rapid assessment to highlight possible impacts of a sea level rise scenario and identify information/data gaps
  • Qualitative or semiquantitative
  • Steps
    • Collation of existing coastal data
    • Assessment of the possible impacts of a high sea level rise scenario
    • Implications of future development
    • Possible responses to the problems caused by sea level rise
step 1 collation of existing data
Step 1: Collation of Existing Data
  • Topographic surveys
  • Aerial/remote sensing images – topography/ land cover
  • Coastal geomorphology classification
  • Evidence of subsidence
  • Long-term relative sea level rise
  • Magnitude and damage caused by flooding
  • Coastal erosion
  • Population density
  • Activities located on the coast (cities, ports, resort areas and tourist beaches, industrial and agricultural areas)
step 2 assessment of possible impacts of high scenario sea level rise
Step 2: Assessment of Possible Impacts of High Scenario Sea Level Rise
  • Four impacts are considered
  • Increased storm flooding
  • Beach/bluff erosion
  • Wetland and mangrove inundation and loss
  • Salt water intrusion
step 3 implications of future developments
Step 3: Implications of Future Developments
  • New and existing river dams and impacts on downstream deltas
  • New coastal settlements
  • Expansion of coastal tourism
  • Possibility of transmigration
step 4 responses to the sea level rise impacts
Step 4: Responses to the Sea Level Rise Impacts
  • Planned retreat (i.e., setback of defenses)
  • Accommodate (i.e., raise buildings above flood levels)
  • Protect (i.e., hard and soft defenses, seawalls, beach nourishment)
beach erosion anguilla
Beach Erosion, Anguilla

Pre Hurricane Post Hurricane


limitations of the bruun rule
Limitations of the Bruun “Rule”
  • Only describes one of the processes affecting sandy beaches
  • Indirect effect of mean sea level rise
    • Estuaries and inlets maintain equilibrium
    • Act as major sinks
    • Sand eroded from adjacent coast
    • Increased erosion rates
  • Response time – best applied over long timescales
  • Increase in flood levels due to rise in sea level
  • Increase in flood risk
  • Increase in populations in coastal floodplain
  • Adaptation
    • Increase in flood protection
    • Management and planning in floodplain
global impacts of coastal flooding in 2050 effects of mitigation
Global Impacts of Coastal Flooding in 2050 – Effects of Mitigation

People flooded (Millions/yr)

  • Top Down
    • DIVA: Dynamic and Interaction Vulnerability Assessment from DINAS-Coast Project
  • Older Models
    • COSMO
    • RamCo
    • Common Methodology
  • Integrated Models
    • RegIS2 : Development of a metamodel tool for regional integrated climate change management
  • Bottom-up approaches
saltmarsh losses to 2050
Saltmarsh Losses to 2050

Present day loss rate

Low Climate


High Climate


bottom up models
Bottom Up Models
  • Detailed local assessments
  • UK erosion assessment
  • Australian approaches
  • Relative assessment approach ‘Pacific Methodology’
approach selection
Approach Selection
  • ‘Relative’ vs ‘absolute assessments’
  • Pragmatic approach and selection
  • Example selection criteria:
    • Type of coast
    • Management issues
    • Time/budget
    • Access to expertise & data
    • Integration into adaptation
uk planning assessment
UK Planning Assessment
  • Ongoing investigation and formulation of policy
  • Requires information on
    • Role of major processes in sediment budget
      • Including human influences
      • Other climate change impacts
  • Example of assessment from the UK
  • Combined flood hazard and erosion assessment
goals for planning assessment
Goals for Planning Assessment
  • For future climate and protection scenarios, explore interactions between cliff management and flood risk within sediment sub-cell (in Northeast Norfolk)
  • In particular, quantify
    • Cliff retreat and associated impacts
    • Longshore sediment supply/beach size
    • Flood risk
    • Integrated flood and erosion assessment
bathymetry and wave modelling
Bathymetry and Wave Modelling

Offshore sandbank



future policy maintain defenses 6 mm yr sea level rise
Future PolicyMaintain Defenses, 6 mm/yr Sea Level Rise



















Australian Coastal Vulnerability Approaches

Kay et al, 2005. Graphics by Colin Woodroffe.

probabilistic beach erosion
Probabilistic Beach Erosion

Cowell et al (in press)


Engineers Australia Approach

National assessment

Local assessment

Higher sea level



Coral bleaching

Engineers Australia (2004) in Kay et al, 2005. Graphics by Colin Woodroffe.

relative assessment
Relative Assessment

From Kay & Hay, 1993

group consultation processes
Group Consultation Processes
  • Expert consensus building
  • Stakeholder engagement processes
  • Can be as structured or unstructured as required
climate change adaptation through integrated risk reduction
Climate Change Adaptation Through Integrated Risk Reduction

barriers to conducting vulnerability assessments
Barriers to Conducting Vulnerability Assessments
  • Incomplete knowledge of the relevant processes affected by sea level rise and their interactions
  • Insufficient data on existing physical conditions
  • Difficulty in developing the local and regional scenarios of future changes
  • Lack of appropriate analytical methodologies
  • Variety of questions raised by different socio-political conditions
data sources
Data Sources
  • IPCC Data Distribution Centre
  • Sea level data
    • Permanent service for mean sea level
    • GLOSS – Global Sea-Level Observing System
  • Remotely sensed data
    • Land Processes Distributed Active Archive Centre (NASA)
    • Shuttle radar topography mission
  • Coastal data
    • Global mapping e.g.
    • Coastal specialists in your region e.g. Un
gloss tide gauges
GLOSS Tide Gauges

data sources87
Data Sources
  • Local observational data
    • Sea level measurements
    • Elevation/topography
    • Wave recording
    • Aerial photography
    • Habitat mapping
integrating mechanisms integrated coastal zone management iczm
Integrating Mechanisms

Integrated Coastal Zone Management (ICZM)

basic features of iczm
Basic Features of ICZM
  • Establishes institutions designed to overcome sectoral fragmentation
  • Promotes harmonization & consistency of decisions, but does not supplant sectoral management
  • Recognizes the distinctive, interrelated nature of watersheds, the coast, and ocean

Source: Jim Good

global iczm activity
Global ICZM Activity

From Sorensen 1993, 1997, 2000, 2002

wide range of literature
Wide range of literature
  • Books
  • Papers
  • Websites
example mitigation policy western australia 2003
Example mitigation policy - Western Australia (2003)
  • “These setback guidelines provide direction for the siting of development, including subdivision and strata subdivision, on the Western Australian coast as defined in this Policy.
  • The specific objectives of these guidelines are to provide a setback that protects development from coastal processes by:
    • absorbing the impact of a severe storm sequence;
    • allowing for shoreline movement;
    • allowing for global sea level rise; and
    • allowing for the fluctuation of natural coastal processes. “
western australian coastal policy bruun rule component
Western Australian Coastal Policy - Bruun Rule Component
  • “The setback to allow for sea level rise is based on the mean of the median model of the latest Assessment Report of the IPCC Working Group (currently, the Third Assessment Report of the IPCC Working Group, January 2001). The vertical change predicted by the current model between the years of 2000 and 2100 is 0.38 m. A multiplier of 100, based on the Bruun Rule shall be used and gives a value for 38 m for sandy shores. For other shore types, this factor shall be assessed in regard to local geography.”
  • Drivers & impacts on coastal areas
  • Adaptation options
  • V&A tools & data sources
  • Integrating mechanisms
  • Conclusions
concluding remarks
Concluding Remarks
  • Sea level rise could be a serious problem, but the uncertainties are large
  • Impacts are strongly influenced by human choice
  • Reducing GHG emissions reduces but does not avoid sea level rise impacts
  • Preparing to adapt would seem prudent, in the context of multiple stresses and managing existing problems