The inland cities expand as a result, and their enlarged footprint and that of roadways and municipal waste sites that accompany them take a toll on agricultural land and open space (52). Insurers Float Fast Flood Protection, as Britain Fails to Confront Risk. With no adaptation, coastal flooding in the 2080s is projected to affect an additional 775,000 (B2 climate change scenario) and 5.5 million (A2 climate change scenario) people per year in the countries of the EU (9). Researchers say until recently this type of flooding in Europe was concentrated along Mediterranean countries. (2017), in: Yi et al. To date, however, there is no robust evidence on projected changes in compound flooding for northwestern Europe. If European countries wish to keep coastal flood risk constant relative to the size of their economy by 2050, protection measures will need to resist extreme sea levels that, on average over Europe, are about half a metre higher. Expected annual damage. Sea level rise scenarios of 25 to 123 cm by 2100 without adaptation are expected to see 0.2 to 4.6% of the global population impacted by coastal flooding annually, with average annual losses amounting to 0.3 to 9.3% of global GDP. Socio-economic developments are described in scenarios, storylines that include elements like population and economic growth, and an ambition to mitigate climate change and adapt to the consequences. The latter, still attached to the main ice sheet, are restrained from flowing faster by friction at their sides or by local seafloor highs. Without further improvements of flood protection this number would increase to €210 billion (range: €30 billion to €845 billion) by the end of the century for the moderate scenario of climate change. In particular, Southern Asia, India, and South America used to have the most urban land in 2000 in areas exposed to both frequent floods and to recurrent droughts. (2019), Watson et al. Expected annual number of people exposed. Chronic coastal flooding or permanent inundation threatens areas occupied by more than 10% of the current populations of nations including Bangladesh, Vietnam, and many Small Island Developing States by 2100 (95). Our scientific work supports a whole host of EU policies in a variety of areas from agriculture and food security, to environment and climate change, as well as nuclear safety and security and innovation and growth. For coastal cities such as Miami, New York City, and Boston, for instance, vertical bias was reduced from 4.71 m to less than 0.06 m. Needles to say that a global assessment of the number of people exposed to coastal flooding based on these data paints a completely different picture compared to studies in the past (95). (2016), Arns et al. According to this study, there is a 27% chance of local sea level in London exceeding 93 cm under RCP8.5 (and a 3% chance of exceeding 1.9 m); in the past, these high values for sea level rise in the United Kingdom were considered unlikely (20). (2019), Farinotti et al. A settled coastline in Marblehead, Massachusetts. Still, even when mitigation policy proofs highly successful, sea level rise will continue well beyond the 21st century (61). Because of this, the contributions of storm surges and waves are not independent statistically. (2015), in: Vousdoukas et al. A high-end scenario of global warming agrees with a lot of Watts per square metre. (2017), in: Nauels et al. (2015); Conte and Lionello (2013); Jordà et al. A storm surge on the east coast of Spain has swept 3km (two miles) inland, devastating rice paddies in the Ebro river delta south of Barcelona. The amount of water that is stored on land is not constant. Widespread wind damage was reported across Europe from Ireland to Central Europe. (2014); Reager and Famiglietti (2009), all in: Reager et al. Satellites-based elevation data, therefore, have a positive bias when used to represent terrain elevations, especially in densely vegetated and in densely populated areas (96). This roughly agrees with the projections of the IPCC made in 2013 under a high-end scenario of climate change (the so-called RCP8.5 scenario) (72). Increase is also relatively high at the Baltic Sea and the Norwegian Sea. Astronomical tide, and episodic water level fluctuations due to climate extremes (storm surges and the set up by waves when they shoal and break at the coast) are important components as well. Compound floods in delta areas are the co-occurrence of high coastal water levels and high river discharge. (2013), in: Reager et al. People seeking refuge from flood in Jawa Tengah, Java. An example of a coastline with upper bounds on tide, storm surge, and maximum wave heights is the West coast of the United States. The combined effect of sea level rise, astronomical tide, and storm surges and wave set up on the once-in-a-hundred-years extreme sea levels along Europe’s coasts is a rise by around 25 cm on average by 2050 under both scenarios, and a rise by 57 cm and 81 cm by 2100 under the moderate and high-end scenario of climate change, respectively. (2018), Idier et al. Figure: Annual damage and population exposed to coastal flooding for the EU and UK in present and by 2100 under two greenhouse gas emissions scenarios, with and without adaptation respectively. Almost half of this damage is shared by two countries: the UK (0.4 €billion annually) and France (0.2 €billion annually). But in many river deltas a further natural hazard exists: if a storm surge co-occurs with heavy rainfall, the surge can block the runoff into the sea and thereby cause flooding in the delta. (2015), Lowe et al. (2016), Menéndez and Woodworth (2010), in: Vousdoukas et al. These projections are higher than previous ones and are based on the latest understanding of how the Antarctic and Greenland Ice Sheets have behaved in the past and how sensitive they are to future climate change (31,89). Europe. Across all regions and all dry-lands, most urban expansion is expected to occur in semi-arid regions of China. Three fatalities were reported in the… Read Full Article. No-trespass zones are landscapes severely encumbered by legal exclusion (landownership concentration and gated cities), violence (war and conﬂict), and unusual risk (land mines and radioactivity). Coastal flooding occurs when normally dry, low-lying land is flooded by seawater. (2013), in: Watson et al. Updated information on the level of coastal protection was used (79). The East coast of the United States is an example of a coastline under the influence of tropical storms. The increase of extreme sea levels not only reflects sea level rise but a change in storm conditions as well. The projected rise of the current high tide line under a high-end scenario of climate change (RCP 8.5) will increase the number of people living on land below this line from 110 million today to 190 million (range: 150–250 million) in 2100. In this study a flood event was called a compound event when high water levels at the coast and in the river were no more than 500 km apart and occurred no more than 7 days apart (104). Especially there is a difference between the northern and southern half of Europe. The largest share of fatalities (71%) has occurred in South Asia. According to the authors this downward trend is probably related to improvements in the prediction of storms and typhoons, and more effective warning and evacuation of the population. (2013); Paprotny et al. Currently, risk assessments consider storm surges and heavy precipitation independently. The new elevation data triple the estimates of global vulnerability to sea-level rise and coastal flooding. (2016), in: Vousdoukas et al. In 2019, IPCC has presented updates on observed global mean sea level (GMSL) (92): The sum of ice sheet and glacier contributions over the period 2006 – 2015 is the dominant source of sea level rise, exceeding the effect of thermal expansion of ocean water (92). On the other hand, socioeconomic growth is mainly responsible for the rise in economic losses in Portugal, Romania and Slovenia, but also in Finland, Poland and Sweden. Along these coastlines just a little bit of sea-level rise already leads to a relatively large shift of the return period of a certain flood level, and these flood levels will occur far more often even if sea-level rises only a few centimetres. Damage potential of coastal flooding in Europe. Coastal flooding risks are significant within Greater Lincolnshire. Figure 3: Percentage mean loss in total cell real GDP in 2200 under RCP 4.5. Thus, over the last years, climate-driven changes in the global water cycle have increased the volume of water on land and slowed down sea level rise. These recent results are a lot higher and more uncertain than the ones considered by the IPCC (33). Wed., Dec. 9, 2020 timer 1 min. As a multinational and multicultural research centre, we collaborate with over a thousand partners worldwide. (2016); Rodell et al. Abstract Compound flooding in coastal regions, i.e., the simultaneous or successive occurrence of high sea levels and high river flows, is expected to increase in a warmer world. They showed that the amount of water stored on land in river basins has decreased and that this loss to the oceans accounts for about 0.3 mm/year (101). The study also shows, however, that strong mitigation efforts could prevent the onset of the rapid dynamics that cause the additional sea level contribution from the Antarctic ice sheets. (2017), Bars et al. Disruption of services, including health services, safe water, sanitation and transportation ways, plays a major role in vulnerability. Compound flooding in coastal regions, that is, the simultaneous or successive occurrence of high sea levels and high river flows, is expected to increase in a warmer world. For the entire European coastline future trends in storm surge level changes between now (the period 1970 - 2000) and the end of this century have been estimated for an intermediate and high-end scenario of climate change (the so-called RCP4.5 and RCP8.5 scenarios). During the last decade, from 2005 to 2015, the rate of global mean sea level rise was about 3.5 mm/year. These processes in turn depend on the combination of socio-economic developments around the globe and the impact of greenhouses gases on global warming. An extreme water level of 3.2 m resulting from the combined action of surges and waves is expected once every 50 years. Table. A distinction was made in two scenarios: a scenario with no additional adaptation that keeps dike heights constant at the current level, and a scenario with business-as-usual adaptation where the standard of protection is updated every five years and dike heights are raised to cope with rising sea levels and changes in population density. In large parts of the world, high-quality (airborne) land elevation data are unavailable or expensive. The assessment focused on the period 1979-2014. The first scenario reflects the possible consequences of the goal of the Paris agreement to keep global temperatures below +2 °C. The US as an example: different coastlines, different impacts sea-level rise. Projected regional sea level rise near a number of northern European cities under this scenario, including an Antarctic marine ice sheet collapse, is shown below. In the United Kingdom, for instance, 70% of the land is owned by 1% of the population (55). Retreat means relocating dwellings and infrastructure out of harm’s way. According to both studies sea-level rise is accelerating, due to an accelerating contribution from the Greenland and West Antarctic ice sheets over this period (15,16). (2018); Petroliagkis et al. The impact of rapid mass loss from the Antarctic ice sheet on global mean sea level rise under a high-end scenario of global warming (the so-called RCP8.5 scenario) has been explored (35). Minor contributions from socioeconomic growth are also projected for Bulgaria, Germany, Denmark, Malta, the Netherlands and Norway. This indicates a disproportionate increase in costs for greater warming scenarios in the second half of the century. Heavy rains cause floods in parts of Slovenia, Croatia. The impact of urbanization on the extent of urban areas exposed to flood and drought hazards has been assessed, without factoring in the potential impacts from climate change. When thermal expansion and glacier contributions are included, it is plausible that sea level rise could exceed 2 m by 2100 under the business as usual scenario, the experts conclude. Next Up. (2017); Pickering et al. When doing so, it makes a huge difference if these contributions are considered to be independent or not. ca. Share. Estimates of the number of people being at risk at about one metre of sea level rise, for instance, varies from 67 million (46) to almost 200 million people (47) or even more (48). The contribution of human-driven has been assessed by the IPCC in their latest report: these changes contribute 0,38 mm/year to the annual averaged sea level rise. The impact of sea-level rise on flooding potential increase is much less for coastlines that are influenced by tropical storm tracks, such as the mid-latitudes of the north-western Pacific below Japan, the mid-latitudes of the north-western Atlantic (the U.S. east coast, Gulf of Mexico, and Caribbean Sea), and the southwest tropical Pacific encompassing Fiji and New Caledonia. Flooding and floods in Europe. And, relative to surrounding rural areas, cities become “heat islands” as they grow. (2018), in: Ganguli and Merz (2019). The results of this assessment are summarized below (12). The world’s low-elevation coastal zone is often defined as the coastal zone up to 10 metres above current sea level. Sea-level rise varies from year to year, however, due to short-term natural climate variability (especially the effect of El Niño–Southern Oscillation) (7,14): the global mean sea level was reported to have dropped 5 mm due to the 2010/2011 La Niña and have recovered in 1 year (14). By 2100 much of Europe faces severe coastal flooding and sea level rise averaging over 50 centimetres, even with stringent greenhouse gas cuts, scientists say. Adaptation. This has been done in a recent study, in which also the latest findings on hydro fracturing and ice cliff instability of the Antarctic ice sheet were included (61): The 132 cm sea level rise in the SSP5 scenario without mitigation is a few decimetres lower than recent results on comparable scenarios (66). Unlike tide-gauge data, satellites sample the open ocean and allow for precise quantitative statements regarding global sea level. The IPCC concluded that mass loss from the Antarctic ice sheet over the period 2007 - 2016 tripled relative to 1997 - 2006. The probability of facing a 1 in 100‐year event is more than doubled in 30% of the global coastlines when accounting for the dependence between storm surges and waves. By the end of the 21st century, sea levels are estimated to rise between 40 and 60 centimetres worldwide. Again, this is no surprise; the acceleration has always been part of the future projections of the impacts of climate change. Compound flooding in coastal regions, i.e., the simultaneous or successive occurrence of high sea levels and high river flows, is expected to increase in a warmer world. Just how serious the squeeze on productive land will be is a function of future urban growth. The second scenario reflects business as usual from now to 2100 (89). Small amounts of sea-level rise, e.g. In 2000, over 10% of total global urban land was located within the low-elevation coastal zones (LECZ, defined as ‘‘the contiguous area along the coast that is less than 10 m above sea level’’) that covers only 2% of the world’s land area. What if sea level rises much faster than currently projected by the IPCC, and the people in this low-elevation coastal zone have to move? This was demonstrated for the 2003–2009 period, but it has long been suspected for earlier periods as well (4). Coping with this will be a major challenge for many European coastal communities. There are two mechanisms that may cause such events. read. The contribution of climate-driven changes has also been assessed, over the period 2002 - 2014: -0.71 ± 0.20 mm/year (22). The total assets exposed to coastal flooding is set to increase from 9% to 13% of global GDP today, to between 12% and 20% by 2100. Far less impact on coastlines influenced by tropical storms. (2018), Alfieri et al. Italy – Deadly Flash Floods in Sardinia. Large uncertainties remain, however. Figure: Annual damage and population exposed to coastal flooding for the EU and UK in present and by 2100 under two greenhouse gas emissions scenarios, with and without adaptation respectively. The first global assessment of the dependence between storm surges and wind waves and its effect on extreme coastal water levels was published recently. Once a fishing port, the harbor is now dedicated to tourism and pleasure boating. The economic damage from coastal flooding in Europe could reach almost €1 trillion per year by 2100 without new investment in adaptation to climate change, a new study finds. The combination of storm surges and wave set up shows no or minor changes along most of the southern European coastline, apart from an important decrease that is projected for the Portuguese coast and the Gulf of Cadiz, where the once-in-a-hundred-years effect of storm surges and wave set up combined may be 5-12 cm lower in 2050 compared with the current situation and 10-20 cm by 2100 (36). With respect to the contribution of waves, only wave setup (and no wave run-up) was considered (90). In this study we present the results of the coastal flood risk assessment for Europe until the end of the 21st century, by incorporating the impacts of global warming and the different socio-economic development scenarios. There are no European cities in the Top 20 of cities ranked by risk in 2005 (expressed as the highest economic average annual losses). This is caused by a dense coastal population, frequent cyclones, and in some places low protection levels and lack of warning (71). Deriving regional and global mass budgets from these measurements is complicated, because the set of measured glaciers is sparse for many regions and can be biased toward smaller land-terminating glaciers (3). A minimum sea level rise of 15 cm is expected until 2050 (1). Annual coastal flood losses would be up to €1268 billion (range: €161 billion to €4731 billion) for the high-end scenario. The extent to which adaptation can lessen the effects of coastal flooding and at what cost is sensitive to the investment strategy adopted. Each year about 100,000 citizens are affected by coastal flooding which, by the end of the century, will increase the most in France, the UK and Italy, as well as Denmark. ... 2020 has been marked by several extreme weather events, from bushfires in Australia to heatwaves in Europe and floods in South America and Asia. More than 70% of the total number of people worldwide currently living on implicated land are in eight Asian countries: China, Bangladesh, India, Vietnam, Indonesia, Thailand, the Philippines, and Japan. In relative terms the largest increases are projected for North Africa and Sub-Saharan Africa (1). (2014), in: Geisler and Currens (2017), McGranahan et al. Hence, also socioeconomic developments control flood risk. Human-drive changes in land water storage include the direct effects of groundwater extraction, irrigation, storage in reservoirs, wetland drainage, and deforestation. The upper limit of current IPCC climate change scenarios is the so-called greenhouse gasses emissions scenario RCP8.5. This is remarkable since world population has approximately doubled since the 1960s, and increased six-fold since 1900, with much of this increase occurring in the coastal regions (5). The Mediterranean Sea has been studied extensively in terms of projected storm surge dynamics and there is consensus for no changes, or even a decrease in the frequency and intensity of extreme events (27,29). When annual rates are averaged over periods of five years, sea level contributions ranged between 0.2 and 0.3 mm per year until the 1980s, and then increased continuously to reach 1.0 mm per year in recent years (2011–2016) (200). Zemp et al. Flooding affects human health through drowning, heart attacks, injuries, infections, exposure to chemical hazards and mental health consequences. (2013), in: Le Bars et al. At the end of the century sea level rise is estimated to be 0,5-1 m (2). When this situation coincides with astronomical high tide at the coast, this can lead to extreme high water levels and flooding of the coastal area. In particular, river basins at high‐latitudes in the northern hemisphere, including the Lena, Mackenzie and Volga basins, have lost a lot of water to the oceans. This is an especially critical finding as numerous low-lying island nations in the Tropics are particularly vulnerable to flooding from storms today, and a significant increase in flooding frequency with climate change will further challenge the very existence and sustainability of these coastal communities across the globe (43). Global sea level rise Observations. (2017), Hallegatte et al. Compound flooding may lead to significant impacts and much more disastrous consequences than each of these extremes individually. The effect of projected future sea-level rise on changes in the frequency of extreme flood levels was studied on a global scale. Then and now, the most densely-populated coastal zones are the deltas in Asia. This is a 96% - 98% reduction compared to a do-nothing scenario. From 2000 to 2030, globally the amount of urban land within the low-elevation coastal zones is projected to increase by 230%; for Western and Eastern Europe this increase is projected to be 100% and 7%, respectively, resulting in 13% (Western Europe) and 2% (Eastern Europe) of the urban area being located in LECZ in 2030, respectively (12). Land use planning tools include government purchase of at-risk lands, major development restrictions, and managed retreat. Dataset contains information on past floods in Europe since 1980, based on the reporting of EU Member States for the EU Floods Directive (2007/60/EC) and combined with information provided by relevant national authorities and global databases on natural hazards. (2017), in: Nauels et al. The largest increase in the amount of urban land exposed to both floods and droughts is expected in Southern Asia (12). (2012), both in: Kim et al. Where tropical storms occur, impact of sea-level rise is less important. Extreme sea levels (ESLs) in Europe could rise by as much as one meter or more due to climate change by the end of this century. The conclusion that the rate of global sea level rise is increasing agrees with the results of previous studies. (2017); Lowe and Gregory (2005); Marcos et al. Compound flooding occurs where storm surges and heavy rainfall combine. In the past glacier mass change was based on glaciological and local geodetic measurements. Under an intermediate increase in greenhouse gas emissions, the authors estimate that sea-level rise will induce an average decline in world real GDP of 0.19% and an average drop in welfare of 0.24%. The contributions of storm surge and waves to extreme water levels should be combined, however. The Netherlands is a particular case, being already very well protected (up to ~10,000 year return period) and still having the highest benefit to cost ratio in Europe. 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