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Climate change and coastal vulnerability assessment: Scenarios for integrated assessment

April 1, 2008

Coastal vulnerability assessments still focus mainly on sea-level rise, with less attention paid to other dimensions of climate change. The influence of non-climatic environmental change or socio-economic change is even less considered, and is often completely ignored. Given that the profound coastal changes of the twentieth century are likely to continue through the twenty-first century, this is a major omission, which may overstate the importance of climate change, and may also miss significant interactions of climate change with other non-climate drivers. To better support climate and coastal management policy development, more integrated assessments of climatic change in coastal areas are required, including the significant non-climatic changes. This paper explores the development of relevant climate and non-climate drivers, with an emphasis on the non-climate drivers. While these issues are applicable within any scenario framework, our ideas are illustrated using the widely used SRES scenarios, with both impacts and adaptation being considered. Importantly, scenario development is a process, and the assumptions that are made about future conditions concerning the coast need to be explicit, transparent and open to scientific debate concerning their realism and likelihood. These issues are generic across other sectors.

Publication Year 2008
Title Climate change and coastal vulnerability assessment: Scenarios for integrated assessment
DOI 10.1007/s11625-008-0050-4
Authors Robert J. Nicholls, Poh Poh Wong, Virginia Burkett, Colin D. Woodroffe, John Hay
Publication Type Article
Publication Subtype Journal Article
Series Title Sustainability Science
Index ID 70031781
Record Source USGS Publications Warehouse
USGS Organization Office of the AD Climate and Land-Use Change