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The implications of accelerated sea-level rise and developing countries: a discussion

The implications of accelerated sea-level rise and developing countries: a discussion
The implications of accelerated sea-level rise and developing countries: a discussion
Any accelerated rise in sea level could have a major impact on the countries considered in this issue; the resulting problems will vary from country to country and depend on coastal geomorphology and present and future human activities in the coastal zone. Based on their highly-populated deltaic areas, China, Bangladesh, and Egypt are highly susceptible to sea-level rise. Sea-level rise could also cause significant problems in Senegal, and particularly Uruguay; this being largely related to tourist-based developments and to the high cost of beach nourishment. Considering the 10 countries contained in this issue, Bangladesh, Senegal, Nigeria, and Egypt appear most vulnerable — that is have the least ability to cope with sea-level rise based on their existing physical and human susceptibility, large and rapidly expanding coastal populations, and limited experience of likely adaptation techniques. Coastal wetlands are expected to experience losses at a global scale given accelerated sea-level rise, exacerbating existing rates of loss due to natural and human-induced factors, such as direct reclamation. The above conclusions are largely based upon the present pattern and distribution of coastal development in these countries. Their rapidly expanding coastal populations make continuing rapid and major coastal development almost certain; without careful planning, this will increase the vulnerability already described. Protection is technically feasible and likely in developed areas; although, increasingly large populations would be dependent on coastal defenses and would face catastrophic consequences in the event of failure. In some deltaic and wetland settings, comprehensive natural system engineering approaches such as controlled flooding and sediment management may be useful. However, there are limits to the ability of humans to counter all the projected losses of coastal wetlands. The uncertainty associated with future sea-level rise demands flexible policies in the coastal zone which can adapt to changing conditions. Sea-level rise exacerbates existing problems, rather than creating fundamentally new problems; thus, these approaches are best integrated with solutions to existing coastal problems. Thus, the coastal implications of climate change are one possible trigger for integrated coastal zone management. This will provide a strategic perspective of the coastal zone and contribute towards its more effective long-term management.
0749-0208
303-323
Nicholls, R.J.
4ce1e355-cc5d-4702-8124-820932c57076
Leatherman, S.P.
a4f7e57b-5601-4474-960e-aa31f6dc656f
Nicholls, R.J.
4ce1e355-cc5d-4702-8124-820932c57076
Leatherman, S.P.
a4f7e57b-5601-4474-960e-aa31f6dc656f

Nicholls, R.J. and Leatherman, S.P. (1995) The implications of accelerated sea-level rise and developing countries: a discussion. [in special issue: 14: Potential Impacts of Accelerated Sea-Level Rise on Developing Countries] Journal of Coastal Research, Spring Issue, 303-323.

Record type: Article

Abstract

Any accelerated rise in sea level could have a major impact on the countries considered in this issue; the resulting problems will vary from country to country and depend on coastal geomorphology and present and future human activities in the coastal zone. Based on their highly-populated deltaic areas, China, Bangladesh, and Egypt are highly susceptible to sea-level rise. Sea-level rise could also cause significant problems in Senegal, and particularly Uruguay; this being largely related to tourist-based developments and to the high cost of beach nourishment. Considering the 10 countries contained in this issue, Bangladesh, Senegal, Nigeria, and Egypt appear most vulnerable — that is have the least ability to cope with sea-level rise based on their existing physical and human susceptibility, large and rapidly expanding coastal populations, and limited experience of likely adaptation techniques. Coastal wetlands are expected to experience losses at a global scale given accelerated sea-level rise, exacerbating existing rates of loss due to natural and human-induced factors, such as direct reclamation. The above conclusions are largely based upon the present pattern and distribution of coastal development in these countries. Their rapidly expanding coastal populations make continuing rapid and major coastal development almost certain; without careful planning, this will increase the vulnerability already described. Protection is technically feasible and likely in developed areas; although, increasingly large populations would be dependent on coastal defenses and would face catastrophic consequences in the event of failure. In some deltaic and wetland settings, comprehensive natural system engineering approaches such as controlled flooding and sediment management may be useful. However, there are limits to the ability of humans to counter all the projected losses of coastal wetlands. The uncertainty associated with future sea-level rise demands flexible policies in the coastal zone which can adapt to changing conditions. Sea-level rise exacerbates existing problems, rather than creating fundamentally new problems; thus, these approaches are best integrated with solutions to existing coastal problems. Thus, the coastal implications of climate change are one possible trigger for integrated coastal zone management. This will provide a strategic perspective of the coastal zone and contribute towards its more effective long-term management.

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More information

Published date: 1995
Organisations: Energy & Climate Change Group

Identifiers

Local EPrints ID: 353132
URI: https://eprints.soton.ac.uk/id/eprint/353132
ISSN: 0749-0208
PURE UUID: 89f34f52-f6f1-4999-84d3-c2fefa495c68
ORCID for R.J. Nicholls: ORCID iD orcid.org/0000-0002-9715-1109

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Date deposited: 18 Jun 2013 13:28
Last modified: 06 Jun 2018 12:44

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