17 Coping with Coastal Change

Robert J. Nicholls1, Marcel J.F. Stive2 and Richard S.J. Tol3

1Faculty of Engineering and the Environment and Tyndall for Climate Change Research, University of Southampton, Southampton, UK

2Faculty of Civil Engineering and Geosciences, Delft University of Technology, Delft, The Netherlands

3School of Economics, University of Sussex, Brighton, UK

17.1 Introduction

As Chapter 5 shows, coasts are ‘risky places’, exposed to multiple meteorological and geophysical hazards, including storms and tsunamis, and they represent regions of concentrated population and assets, including many major cities (Kron, 2013). Globally, it is estimated that about 600 million people live within 10 m of sea level (McGranahan et al., 2007). As many as 20 million of these people live below normal high-tide levels, while over 200 million people are exposed to flooding during temporary extreme sea-level events produced by storms (Nicholls, 2010). These threatened low-lying areas already depend on flood risk management strategies of some type, be it natural and/or artificial flood defences, drainage systems, and/or construction methods. Recent storms such as Hurricane Katrina in 2005, Cyclone Nagris in 2008, Typhoon Yasi in 2011, and Hurricane Sandy in 2012 remind us of what can happen in low-lying coastal areas if those management systems fail or are exceeded (Fig. 17.1). Long-term human-induced change, such as failing sediment supplies and artificial subsidence, and ...

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