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Sea-Level Rise Impacts and Responses: A Global Perspective

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Coastal Hazards

Abstract

Coastal hazards have long been present and are evolving due to a variety of different drivers: the long-term threat of climate change, including sea-level rise, adds a new dimension to these problems which is explored here. Globally, sea levels could rise in excess of 1 m this century, but the local rate of relative sea-level rise could be much greater than this because of subsidence or other factors which lower the land surface. This is important as the population of these subsiding areas is significant. Relative sea-level rise will result in inundation, flooding, erosion, wetland loss, saltwater intrusion and impeded drainage. This chapter has investigated the impacts of sea-level rise at a global scale on: (1) Sandy environments; (2) Wetlands and low-lying coasts; (3) Built environments; and (4) Energy and transport systems. Results indicate that without appropriate adaptation, environments could be significantly impacted, and those remote or financially less well off could become increasingly vulnerable. Further research and action is required into integrated impact assessments (including non-climatic drivers of change) to help those at risk and develop appropriate adaptation polices over short, medium and long timescales.

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Notes

  1. 1.

    Defined as the contiguous area below 10 m of elevation that is hydrologically connected to the sea.

  2. 2.

    Defined as places dominated by built environments – see Vafeidis et al. (2011).

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Acknowledgements

We thank Dr Ivan Haigh (University of Southampton, UK) for comments on this manuscript. SB, RJN and JH received funding from the European Union Seventh Framework Programme (FP7/2007–2013) under the grant agreement 282746 (IMPACT2C: Quantifying projected impacts under 2°C of warming).

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Brown, S. et al. (2013). Sea-Level Rise Impacts and Responses: A Global Perspective. In: Finkl, C. (eds) Coastal Hazards. Coastal Research Library, vol 1000. Springer, Dordrecht. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-94-007-5234-4_5

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