coastal vulnerability to climate change by david a y smith smith warner international l.
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Coastal Vulnerability to Climate Change by David A.Y. Smith Smith Warner International. Profile of the Caribbean and Coastal Areas. Greater Antilles/Lesser Antilles – based on location and geological origin

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profile of the caribbean and coastal areas
Profile of the Caribbean and Coastal Areas
  • Greater Antilles/Lesser Antilles – based on location and geological origin
  • All are islands with high coastline to area ratios, and are therefore particularly vulnerable to coastal hazards.
  • Differing levels of risk across the region
coastal hazards in the caribbean
Coastal Hazards in the Caribbean
  • Over 8,000 lives lost in the Caribbean over past 30 years due to natural disasters.
  • Greater Antilles
  • (Cuba, Jamaica, Hispañola, Puerto Rico)
    • Hurricanes
    • Floods
    • Earthquakes
    • Tsunami
  • Lesser Antilles
  • (St. Maarten to Trinidad)
    • Hurricanes
    • Volcanic Eruptions (Ash fallout)
    • Earthquakes
    • Tsunami
damage from hurricanes
Damage from Hurricanes

Occurs primarily from:

  • Hurricane waves;
  • Beach scour and;
  • Storm surge.
hurricane waves
Hurricane Waves
  • Deep water waves resulting from hurricanes can be very damaging. Estimates of extreme (i.e. design) wave heights made throughout the region are summarized following:
hurricane waves cont d
Hurricane Waves (cont’d)

These deep water waves change in height as they travel in to shallower water.

  • Changes result from interactions between the waves and the seabed
  • At the shoreline, they can be very damaging, breaking out infrastructure and erodingshorelines.
beach scour
Beach Scour
  • In a storm, high wave energy often results in severe erosion of the beach and/or shoreline.
  • Erosion may reach up to 20-30m inland, and can totally wipe out beach areas and adjacent infrastructure.
beach scour cont d
Beach Scour (cont’d)
  • Erosion is exacerbated where there are buildings (i.e. vertical walls) in the wave run-up zone.
  • Shore protection methods must be carefully designed so as not to negatively impact adjacent shoreline areas.
examples of storm surge
Examples of Storm Surge

High storm waves, Cayman,

Hurricane Ivan

Storm Surge, Roseau, Dominica, Hurricane Lenny

impact of water level changes
Impact of Water Level Changes
  • Based on UN-IPCC observations and Circulation Model outputs, rates of sea level rise in the Caribbean will be 5mm/year for next 100 years;
  • Rate will neither be uniform nor constant due to site-specific reasons (e.g. crustal emergence and/or submergence);
  • This rate is 2 times higher than rate for the past 100 years;
  • Low-lying beaches, terraces and plains will be more vulnerable to storm events as a result of this rise.
some issues for concern
Some Issues for Concern
  • Large percentage of Jamaica’s population (approx. 25%) and critical infrastructure is concentrated near to the coastline.
  • There is some evidence, when the past 115 years of hurricane data is examined, that we are in a cycle with an increasing number of storms.
data collection gaps
Data Collection/Gaps
  • Water levels have been collected under the aegis of the OAS at a number of locations across the Caribbean.
  • Many of these stations have fallen into disrepair and have not been maintained.
  • Long-term records of water levels must be collected if we are to assess our own levels of risk and vulnerability to sea level rise.
  • What are the present plans to commence or mainstream data collection?
data collection gaps cont d
Data Collection/Gaps (cont’d)
  • What are the rates of accretion or erosion at our beaches in Jamaica?
  • A programme of beach profile monitoring of beaches and/or shorelines at key points around the shoreline of Jamaica would assist in identifying a problem (or not).
  • Given the importance of the tourism sector to our national economy, monitoring of shoreline change is required.
  • Again, what are the present plans to commence or mainstream data collection?
tsunami another source of risk
Tsunami: another source of risk
  • More a problem in the Lesser Antilles
  • Caused by ocean centred earthquakes, or volcanic eruptions.
  • Greatest risk presently posed by “Kick ‘em Jenny”

SeaBeam image of Kick 'em Jenny constructed from measurements taken from the NOAA Research Vessel Ronald H. Brown on March 12 2002.

tsunamis in the caribbean historical account
Tsunamis in the Caribbean: Historical Account

Dates and Locations of Tsunami