Shifting perspectives on coastal impacts and adaptation

TitleShifting perspectives on coastal impacts and adaptation
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2014
AuthorsBrown, S, Nicholls, RJ, Hanson, S, Brundrit, G, Dearing, JA, Dickson, ME, Gallop, SL, Gao, S, Haigh, I, Hinkel, J, Jiménez, JA, Klein, RJT, Kron, W, Lázár, AN, Neves, CF, Newton, A, Pattiaratachi, C, Payo, A, Pye, K, Sánchez-Arcilla, A, Siddall, M, Shareef, A, Tompkins, E, Vafeidis, A, van Maanen, B, Ward, PJ, Woodroffe, CD
JournalNature Climate Chnage
Start Page752
Date Published08/2014
Type of ArticleCommentary

With the release of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC)'s Fifth Assessment Report (AR5)1, climate change has again been identified as an important driver of change. Coasts are particularly vulnerable, as they are directly affected by rising sea levels, storminess and other climate drivers: this is accentuated by other issues and changes such as urbanisation, including indirect landward and seaward influences (for example, reduced water and sediment input due to dams). Adverse consequences include increased flooding, salinization, erosion, and wetland and biodiversity loss1. Several recent extreme meteorological events have caused catastrophic human and economic losses in coastal areas, such as Cyclone Nargis (Myanmar, 2008), Storm Xynthia (France, 2010), Hurricane Sandy (eastern United States, Canada and Caribbean, 2012) and Typhoon Haiyan (Philippines, 2013). Although coasts have always been hazardous places to live, global economic losses have significantly increased in recent decades2. Climate change is exacerbating those risks. This Commentary demonstrates how successive IPCC coastal chapters1,3456 have shifted from impacts towards adaptation, assessing the relative role of climate change within a broader environmental framework, with increasing clarity and nuance, despite continuing uncertainties.