Special Issue "Adaptation to Coastal Climate Change and Sea-Level Rise"

A special issue of Water (ISSN 2073-4441). This special issue belongs to the section "Oceans and Coastal Zones".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (12 February 2021) | Viewed by 17727

Special Issue Editors

Dr. Borja G. Reguero
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Institute of Marine Sciences, University of California, Santa Cruz, 1156 High St., Santa Cruz, CA 95064, USA
Interests: coastal hazards; coastal engineering; climate adaptation; environmental engineering; nature-based solutions
Prof. Dr. Gary B. Griggs
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Department of Earth and Planetary Sciences, University of California, Santa Cruz, CA 95064, USA
Interests: coastal erosion; coastal hazards; coastal engineering; sea-level rise; climate change

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

There is an urgent need to adapt to climate change and its impacts, especially in coastal zones. Coastal populations and their economies are particularly vulnerable to the impacts of sea-level rise and other effects of climate change. Coastal communities increasingly require targeted responses, adaptation plans and informed action to address the rising hazards and costs from sea-level rise and climate change.

This Special Issue’s goal is to present experiences and examples of the challenges, as well as the planning and implementation of effective coastal adaptation.

Coastal adaptation is gaining momentum, but understandably, still lacks consistent procedures, practices, and policies. Climate change is a global issue, but one that is felt on a local scale. Cities and municipalities are, therefore, at the frontline of adaptation. They require local measures, but can also gain from higher-level and broader experience, policies, and strategies that can integrate adaptation efforts into regional coastal policies and decisions (as well as plans for sustainable economic development).

The main goal of this Special Issue is to gather and share best practices, successes, lessons learned, case studies, and general insights that can contribute to advancing adaptation to climate change and sea-level rise. Contributions should focus on adaptation solutions to the impacts of climate change in coastal zones; and may focus on local or broader scales, case studies, modeling, or analytical analyses. We especially welcome examples of: local or regional adaptation; methods and challenges to implementing adaptation in coastal communities; accomplishments in managing and dealing with sea-level rise, erosion, and flooding; examples of ecosystem-based adaptation, and any other innovative contribution that combines adaptation with the sustainability of coasts and their economies.

Dr. Borja G. Reguero
Prof. Gary B. Griggs
Guest Editors

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All submissions that pass pre-check are peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a single-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Water is an international peer-reviewed open access semimonthly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 2200 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.

Keywords

  • Climate change
  • Adaptation
  • Sea-level rise
  • Coastal hazards
  • Extreme events
  • Eoastal economy

Published Papers (11 papers)

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Editorial

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Editorial
Editorial: Adaptation to Coastal Climate Change and Sea-Level Rise
Water 2022, 14(7), 996; https://doi.org/10.3390/w14070996 - 22 Mar 2022
Viewed by 578
Abstract
Climate change is already affecting many weather and climate extremes in every inhabited region across the globe [...] Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Adaptation to Coastal Climate Change and Sea-Level Rise)

Research

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Article
Community Perception and Adaptation to Climate Change in Coastal Areas of Mexico
Water 2021, 13(18), 2483; https://doi.org/10.3390/w13182483 - 10 Sep 2021
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 982
Abstract
Climate change adaptation is an increasingly important topic addressed in the face of the current and expected future impacts by climate change that the social, economic and ecological systems are experiencing worldwide. Despite the advances reported in the literature, adaptation to climate change [...] Read more.
Climate change adaptation is an increasingly important topic addressed in the face of the current and expected future impacts by climate change that the social, economic and ecological systems are experiencing worldwide. Despite the advances reported in the literature, adaptation to climate change is still considered a challenge to move from planning to the practical implementation of successful interventions. In this regard, identifying international key barriers, exchanges of experiences and lessons learned may facilitate the progress of the coasts’ sustainable and resilient future. The coast of Mexico is an excellent study area. High population densities occur along the coastal zone, whose main economic activity is related to primary and tertiary sectors. Additionally, a great diversity of coastal ecosystems exists, which are threatened by anthropogenic and hydrometeorological impacts. Under these circumstances, the population is becoming aware of the urgent need to adapt to the consequences of climate change. In this sense, this paper reviews research contributions concerning population perception to climate change and adaptation strategies in Mexico’s coastal zone. The findings highlight critical institutional difficulties and social barriers that have impeded the effective implementation of adaptation strategies to climate change in Mexico and consider steps to address them. However, adaptation strategies that show the prevention culture of some coastal communities have been found and also results of successful projects carried out, especially on mangrove forest and coral reef restoration, which are of essential importance to consider to progress on the path of a successful adaptation to climate change in Mexico. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Adaptation to Coastal Climate Change and Sea-Level Rise)
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Article
A Spatial Integrated SLR Adaptive Management Plan Framework (SISAMP) toward Sustainable Coasts
Water 2021, 13(16), 2263; https://doi.org/10.3390/w13162263 - 19 Aug 2021
Cited by 4 | Viewed by 1088
Abstract
Sea-level rise (SLR) is known as a central part of the Earth’s response to human-induced global warming and is projected to continue to rise over the twenty-first century and beyond. The importance of coastal areas for both human and natural systems has led [...] Read more.
Sea-level rise (SLR) is known as a central part of the Earth’s response to human-induced global warming and is projected to continue to rise over the twenty-first century and beyond. The importance of coastal areas for both human and natural systems has led researchers to conduct extensive studies on coastal vulnerability to SLR impacts and develop adaptation options to cope with rising sea level. Investigations to date have focused mostly on developed and highly populated coasts, as well as diverse ecosystems including tidal salt marshes and mangroves. As a result, there is less information on vulnerability and adaptation of less-developed and developing coasts to sea-level rise and its associated impacts. Hence, this research aimed at outlining an appropriate coastal management framework to adapt to SLR on the coasts that are in the early stage of development. A coastal area with a low level of development, located in southern Iran along the Gulf of Oman, was selected as a case study. The types of lands exposed to the high-end estimates of SLR by 2100 were identified and used as the primary criteria in determining the practical adaptation approaches for developing coasts. The result of coastal exposure assessment showed that, of five exposed land cover types, bare land, which is potentially considered for development, has the highest percentage of exposure to future sea-level rise. In order to protect the exposed coastal lands from future development and increase adaptive capacity of coastal systems, we developed a Spatial Integrated SLR Adaptive Management Plan Framework (SISAMP) based on an exposure reduction approach. Spatial land management tools and coastal exposure assessment models along with three other key components were integrated into the proposed conceptual framework to reduce coastal vulnerability through minimizing exposure of coastal communities to SLR-induced impacts. This adaptation plan provides a comprehensive approach for sustainable coastal management in a changing climate, particularly on developing coasts. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Adaptation to Coastal Climate Change and Sea-Level Rise)
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Article
A Holistic Framework for Evaluating Adaptation Approaches to Coastal Hazards and Sea Level Rise: A Case Study from Imperial Beach, California
Water 2021, 13(9), 1324; https://doi.org/10.3390/w13091324 - 10 May 2021
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 1678
Abstract
Sea level rise increases community risks from erosion, wave flooding, and tides. Current management typically protects existing development and infrastructure with coastal armoring. These practices ignore long-term impacts to public trust coastal recreation and natural ecosystems. This adaptation framework models physical responses to [...] Read more.
Sea level rise increases community risks from erosion, wave flooding, and tides. Current management typically protects existing development and infrastructure with coastal armoring. These practices ignore long-term impacts to public trust coastal recreation and natural ecosystems. This adaptation framework models physical responses to the public beach and private upland for each adaptation strategy over time, linking physical changes in widths to damages, economic costs, and benefits from beach recreation and nature using low-lying Imperial Beach, California, as a case study. Available coastal hazard models identified community vulnerabilities, and local risk communication engagement prioritized five adaptation approaches—armoring, nourishment, living shorelines, groins, and managed retreat. This framework innovates using replacement cost as a proxy for ecosystem services normally not valued and examines a managed retreat policy approach using a public buyout and rent-back option. Specific methods and economic values used in the analysis need more research and innovation, but the framework provides a scalable methodology to guide coastal adaptation planning everywhere. Case study results suggest that coastal armoring provides the least public benefits over time. Living shoreline approaches show greater public benefits, while managed retreat, implemented sooner, provides the best long-term adaptation strategy to protect community identity and public trust resources. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Adaptation to Coastal Climate Change and Sea-Level Rise)
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Article
Using Virtual Reality in Sea Level Rise Planning and Community Engagement—An Overview
Water 2021, 13(9), 1142; https://doi.org/10.3390/w13091142 - 21 Apr 2021
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 2788
Abstract
As coastal communities around the globe contend with the impacts of climate change including coastal hazards such as sea level rise and more frequent coastal storms, educating stakeholders and the general public has become essential in order to adapt to and mitigate these [...] Read more.
As coastal communities around the globe contend with the impacts of climate change including coastal hazards such as sea level rise and more frequent coastal storms, educating stakeholders and the general public has become essential in order to adapt to and mitigate these risks. Communicating SLR and other coastal risks is not a simple task. First, SLR is a phenomenon that is abstract as it is physically distant from many people; second, the rise of the sea is a slow and temporally distant process which makes this issue psychologically distant from our everyday life. Virtual reality (VR) simulations may offer a way to overcome some of these challenges, enabling users to learn key principles related to climate change and coastal risks in an immersive, interactive, and safe learning environment. This article first presents the literature on environmental issues communication and engagement; second, it introduces VR technology evolution and expands the discussion on VR application for environmental literacy. We then provide an account of how three coastal communities have used VR experiences developed by multidisciplinary teams—including residents—to support communication and community outreach focused on SLR and discuss their implications. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Adaptation to Coastal Climate Change and Sea-Level Rise)
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Article
Fishing Industry Perspectives on Sea-Level Rise Risk and Adaptation
Water 2021, 13(8), 1124; https://doi.org/10.3390/w13081124 - 20 Apr 2021
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1034
Abstract
Sea-level rise, already occurring over Florida’s coast, stands to generate a significant impact on the state’s fishing industry and coastal communities, exposing vulnerable areas and populations to extreme events and disrupting established patterns of fishery and marine resource use. Using a semi-structured interview [...] Read more.
Sea-level rise, already occurring over Florida’s coast, stands to generate a significant impact on the state’s fishing industry and coastal communities, exposing vulnerable areas and populations to extreme events and disrupting established patterns of fishery and marine resource use. Using a semi-structured interview approach, this study evaluated fishing industry perspectives on sea-level rise risk and adaptation in three Florida coastal communities. The results showed that adaptation responses vary across industry sectors and communities and are strongly influenced by experience, community dynamics, and age. Generally, older fishers are less willing to relocate due to social factors, such as strong place attachment, compared to younger fishers, who are more likely to retreat and/or work from a less vulnerable location. These findings suggest that adaptation responses, while influenced by experience, are mediated by age, attachment to place, and worldviews, and that these factors need to be accounted for when crafting adaptation strategies across coastal communities. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Adaptation to Coastal Climate Change and Sea-Level Rise)
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Article
Shoreline Solutions: Guiding Efficient Data Selection for Coastal Risk Modeling and the Design of Adaptation Interventions
Water 2021, 13(6), 875; https://doi.org/10.3390/w13060875 - 23 Mar 2021
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1430
Abstract
The Caribbean is affected by climate change due to an increase in the variability, frequency, and intensity of extreme weather events. When coupled with sea level rise (SLR), poor urban development design, and loss of habitats, severe flooding often impacts the coastal zone. [...] Read more.
The Caribbean is affected by climate change due to an increase in the variability, frequency, and intensity of extreme weather events. When coupled with sea level rise (SLR), poor urban development design, and loss of habitats, severe flooding often impacts the coastal zone. In order to protect citizens and adapt to a changing climate, national and local governments need to investigate their coastal vulnerability and climate change risks. To assess flood and inundation risk, some of the critical data are topography, bathymetry, and socio-economic. We review the datasets available for these parameters in Jamaica (and specifically Old Harbour Bay) and assess their pros and cons in terms of resolution and costs. We then examine how their use can affect the evaluation of the number of people and the value of infrastructure flooded in a typical sea level rise/flooding assessment. We find that there can be more than a three-fold difference in the estimate of people and property flooded under 3m SLR. We present an inventory of available environmental and economic datasets for modeling storm surge/SLR impacts and ecosystem-based coastal protection benefits at varying scales. We emphasize the importance of the careful selection of the appropriately scaled data for use in models that will inform climate adaptation planning, especially when considering sea level rise, in the coastal zone. Without a proper understanding of data needs and limitations, project developers and decision-makers overvalue investments in adaptation science which do not necessarily translate into effective adaptation implementation. Applying these datasets to estimate sea level rise and storm surge in an adaptation project in Jamaica, we found that less costly and lower resolution data and models provide up to three times lower coastal risk estimates than more expensive data and models, indicating that investments in better resolution digital elevation mapping (DEM) data are needed for targeted local-level decisions. However, we also identify that, with this general rule of thumb in mind, cost-effective, national data can be used by planners in the absence of high-resolution data to support adaptation action planning, possibly saving critical climate adaptation budgets for project implementation. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Adaptation to Coastal Climate Change and Sea-Level Rise)
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Article
Communicating Managed Retreat in California
Water 2021, 13(6), 781; https://doi.org/10.3390/w13060781 - 13 Mar 2021
Cited by 4 | Viewed by 1800
Abstract
California cities face growing threats from sea-level rise as increased frequency and severity of flooding and storms cause devastating erosion, infrastructure damage, and loss of property. Management plans are often designed to prevent or slow flooding with short-term, defensive strategies such as shoreline [...] Read more.
California cities face growing threats from sea-level rise as increased frequency and severity of flooding and storms cause devastating erosion, infrastructure damage, and loss of property. Management plans are often designed to prevent or slow flooding with short-term, defensive strategies such as shoreline hardening, beach nourishment, and living shorelines. By contrast, managed retreat focuses on avoiding hazards and adapting to changing shorelines by relocating out of harm’s way. However, the term “managed retreat” can be controversial and has engendered heated debates, defensive protests, and steady resistance in some communities. Such responses have stymied inclusion of managed retreat in adaptation plans, and in some cases has resulted in complete abandonment of the policy review process. We examined the Local Coastal Program review process in seven California communities at imminent risk of sea-level rise and categorized each case as receptive or resistant to managed retreat. Three prominent themes distinguished the two groups: (1) inclusivity, timing, and consistency of communication, (2) property ownership, and (3) stakeholder reluctance to change. We examined use of terminology and communication strategies and provided recommendations to communicate “managed retreat” more effectively. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Adaptation to Coastal Climate Change and Sea-Level Rise)
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Article
Impact of Sea-Level Rise on the Hydrologic Landscape of the Mānā Plain, Kaua‘i
Water 2021, 13(6), 766; https://doi.org/10.3390/w13060766 - 11 Mar 2021
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 806
Abstract
The Mānā Plain is a land apart, buffered from oceanographic influences by ~3–35 m high backshore deposits, and drained by an intricate, >100-y-old ditch system and modern, large-capacity pumps. Quantifying present and prospective inputs and outputs for the hydrologic landscape suggests that, although [...] Read more.
The Mānā Plain is a land apart, buffered from oceanographic influences by ~3–35 m high backshore deposits, and drained by an intricate, >100-y-old ditch system and modern, large-capacity pumps. Quantifying present and prospective inputs and outputs for the hydrologic landscape suggests that, although sea-level rise (SLR) will begin to impact ditch system operations in 2040, transient, event-based flooding caused by rainfall, not SLR induced, multi-mechanism flooding, will continue to pose the most immediate threat. This is because as sea level rises the ability of gravity flows to discharge storm runoff directly into the ocean will diminish, causing floodwater to pond in low-lying depressions. Estimates of the volume of water involved suggests the risk of flooding from surface water is likely to extend to 5.45 km2 of land that is presently ≤ 1 m above sea level. This land will not be permanently inundated, but weeks of pumping may be required to remove the floodwater. Increasing pumping capacity and preserving some operational ability to discharge storm runoff under the influence of gravity will enhance the ditch system’s resilience to SLR and ensure it continues to fulfill its primary functions, of maintaining the water table below the root zone and diverting storm runoff away from farmland, at least until the end of this century. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Adaptation to Coastal Climate Change and Sea-Level Rise)
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Article
Quantifying Uncertainty in Exposure to Coastal Hazards Associated with Both Climate Change and Adaptation Strategies: A U.S. Pacific Northwest Alternative Coastal Futures Analysis
Water 2021, 13(4), 545; https://doi.org/10.3390/w13040545 - 20 Feb 2021
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 1789
Abstract
Coastal communities face heightened risk to coastal flooding and erosion hazards due to sea-level rise, changing storminess patterns, and evolving human development pressures. Incorporating uncertainty associated with both climate change and the range of possible adaptation measures is essential for projecting the evolving [...] Read more.
Coastal communities face heightened risk to coastal flooding and erosion hazards due to sea-level rise, changing storminess patterns, and evolving human development pressures. Incorporating uncertainty associated with both climate change and the range of possible adaptation measures is essential for projecting the evolving exposure to coastal flooding and erosion, as well as associated community vulnerability through time. A spatially explicit agent-based modeling platform, that provides a scenario-based framework for examining interactions between human and natural systems across a landscape, was used in Tillamook County, OR (USA) to explore strategies that may reduce exposure to coastal hazards within the context of climate change. Probabilistic simulations of extreme water levels were used to assess the impacts of variable projections of sea-level rise and storminess both as individual climate drivers and under a range of integrated climate change scenarios through the end of the century. Additionally, policy drivers, modeled both as individual management decisions and as policies integrated within adaptation scenarios, captured variability in possible human response to increased hazards risk. The relative contribution of variability and uncertainty from both climate change and policy decisions was quantified using three stakeholder relevant landscape performance metrics related to flooding, erosion, and recreational beach accessibility. In general, policy decisions introduced greater variability and uncertainty to the impacts of coastal hazards than climate change uncertainty. Quantifying uncertainty across a suite of coproduced performance metrics can help determine the relative impact of management decisions on the adaptive capacity of communities under future climate scenarios. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Adaptation to Coastal Climate Change and Sea-Level Rise)
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Review

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Review
Coastal Adaptation to Climate Change and Sea-Level Rise
Water 2021, 13(16), 2151; https://doi.org/10.3390/w13162151 - 05 Aug 2021
Cited by 5 | Viewed by 2130
Abstract
The Earth’s climate is changing; ice sheets and glaciers are melting and coastal hazards and sea level are rising in response. With a total population of over 300 million people situated on coasts, including 20 of the planet’s 33 megacities (over 10 million [...] Read more.
The Earth’s climate is changing; ice sheets and glaciers are melting and coastal hazards and sea level are rising in response. With a total population of over 300 million people situated on coasts, including 20 of the planet’s 33 megacities (over 10 million people), low-lying coastal areas represent one of the most vulnerable areas to the impacts of climate change. Many of the largest cities along the Atlantic coast of the U.S. are already experiencing frequent high tide flooding, and these events will increase in frequency, depth, duration and extent as sea levels continue to rise at an accelerating rate throughout the 21st century and beyond. Cities in southeast Asia and islands in the Indo-Pacific and Caribbean are also suffering the effects of extreme weather events combined with other factors that increase coastal risk. While short-term extreme events such as hurricanes, El Niños and severe storms come and go and will be more damaging in the short term, sea-level rise is a long-term permanent change of state. However, the effects of sea-level rise are compounded with other hazards, such as increased wave action or a loss of ecosystems. As sea-level rise could lead to the displacement of hundreds of millions of people, this may be one of the greatest challenges that human civilization has ever faced, with associated inundation of major cities, loss of coastal infrastructure, increased saltwater intrusion and damage to coastal aquifers among many other global impacts, as well as geopolitical and legal implications. While there are several short-term responses or adaptation options, we need to begin to think longer term for both public infrastructure and private development. This article provides an overview of the status on adaptation to climate change in coastal zones. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Adaptation to Coastal Climate Change and Sea-Level Rise)
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