UBC Undergraduate Research

Climate induced sea level rise : an investigation of adaptation strategies and erosion mitigation in coastal regions Tong, Eva


Climate induced sea level rise has become a growing concern through the twentieth century and ongoing research speculate an unprecedented increase in recent years (Nicholls & Cazenave, 2010). As sea levels continue to rise, coastal cities are at increasing risk of coastal flooding from the encroaching shorelines. The purpose of this paper is thus to look at methods separate from the traditional methods of technological and engineered defensive infrastructure. The specific objective is to illustrate and discuss – through the use of case studies – the implementation of innovative approaches to flood defence and erosion mitigation. In looking at adaptation strategies, the case studies were separated into four categories: (1) Elevated Development, (2) Floatable Development, (3) Floodable Development, and (4) Living Shorelines; evaluating each on the basis of costs, benefits, and disadvantages. While the research is limited to strategies structural in origin, this research found a specific need to seek methods that accommodate the changes of sea level rise as opposed to protective strategies. As a result this investigation of alternative adaptations to sea level rise is not representative of all available options. Besides being more cost efficient and having low impact, we find that accommodation provides longer term solutions. Although managed retreat seems to be a logical response, often the displacement of populations becomes an issue technically, socially, politically and economically. Thus instead of managed retreat at a city wide level, strategic retreat might be a better option as it gradually abandons dwellings, and promotes rebuilding in areas at low risk of flooding. However, the most economical option would be climate-wise development planning that limit and prevent new developments in areas at risk. Mixed/Integrated strategies are also considered a valuable option, especially in situations where development already exists. Research for the future however, should not be limited to infrastructure both accommodating and protective, but instead focus on solutions for other impacts of sea level rise in aspects of agriculture, such as increasing salinity and its effects of grown crops, and transportation.

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Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International

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