Welcome to PAP/RAC Mediterranean Coastal Alert! This newsletter is regularly updated monthly. It contains abstracts of selected current articles and archives on various environmental themes, in particular those dealing with all aspects of coastal issues. The selection is made from the articles published in the leading international scientific journals. This newsletter is an excellent way of keeping you updated with coastal studies and processes.

In this issue Issue No. 32, 2011-08-03

Future scenario simulations of wave climate in the NW Mediterranean Sea
(Abstract...)

Dealing with erosion along the Danube Delta coast. The CONSCIENCE experience towards a sustainable coastline management
(Abstract...)

An institutional analysis of the sustainability of fisheries: insights from FishBanks simulation game
(Abstract...)

Can developed economies combat dangerous anthropogenic climate change without near-term reductions from developing economies? A letter
(Abstract...)

Abstract

Future scenario simulations of wave climate in the NW Mediterranean Sea

In this study, 20-year wave climate simulations (1991-2010 and 2081-2100) were performed and analysed in the NW Mediterranean with a fine resolution of 1/8º. The forcing wind was obtained from the ENSEMBLES project, including 3-hourly resolution, daily mean and maximum winds. The validation of the reference situation was done by comparing the probability density function of the datasets. It showed a reasonable agreement between results from 3-hourly winds and buoy data and between results from daily mean wind and wave hindcast data, although the spreading of the distribution is underestimated and some spatial discrepancies were found. The general tendency of the mean significant wave height is to decrease with the exception of the Northern Catalan coast for which no significant variation was detected. A seasonal analysis revealed a change in the annual pattern. During spring and summer the mean significant wave height tends to increase in some areas whereas milder winter and autumn periods are expected. The analysis of the 95% cumulative significant wave height showed similar results but accentuated changes were found.

Keywords: Climate change; Wave projections; Future wave pattern.

Source: M. Casas-Prat and J.P. Sierra (2011); “Future scenario simulations of wave climate in the NW Mediterranean”, Journal of Coastal Research, Special Issue 64 (Proceedings of the 11th International Coastal Symposium), Szczecin, Poland, ISBN 0749-0208.

Contact: merce.casas@upc.edu

Link: JCR

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Dealing with erosion along the Danube Delta coast. The CONSCIENCE experience towards a sustainable coastline management

The most severe shoreline retreat (over 20 m/year) along the Danube Delta coast has been recorded in the coastal stretch confined by the Sulina branch (north) and Sahalin spit island (south). This erosive trend is caused by the natural evolution of some stretches of the Danube Delta coast, but strongly enhanced by the human activities. Human interventions result in the dramatic decrease in quantity of sediments reaching the coast and in the disruption of natural sediment circulation in the coastal area. EUROSION FP5 Project developed four concepts to be used in coastal studies: coastal sediment cell, coastal resilience, favourable sediment status and strategic sediment reservoir. The main objectives of this study regard the application of the CONSCIENCE methodology and test of the concepts in order to identify and understand the main threats for Sulina – Sahalin littoral cell, especially the coastal erosion one, as well as to provide a sound working methodology for coastal managers to deal with these threats. The sediment budget computed in previous studies, as well as the field observations, indicate a lack of sediments for the littoral cell (unfavourable sediment status). In order to assess the vulnerability of the coast to short-term extreme events (especially storms), simulations of water level changes were performed and calibrated with the field observations. A processes-based numerical model was used to simulate the storm induced water level variations and the main input data were the bathymetry of the active beach, wind direction and speed (storm scenarios) and the characteristics of water and air. The results show large water level increases for the central part of the study zone, especially for northern wind directions. The main solution proposed to deal the problems arising from a sediment-starved coast, vulnerable to the extreme events, is artificial nourishment. Two strategic sediment reservoirs were identified, both of them at the northern boundary of the cell: the sediments dredged periodically from Sulina mouth and the sediments accumulated in Musura Bay, just north of Sulina jetties. The transfer of these sediments towards the central part of the littoral cell Sulina – Sahalin would decrease the erosion rates to a natural level and restore the natural coastal resilience. The methodology developed in CONSCIENCE Framework and applied to Danube Delta coastal zone provided good results when problems and solutions for the coastal zone were to be identified and tested. This methodology and its related results can be applied by the local coastal managers to Sulina – Sahalin littoral cell, while this experience can be extended to other similar environments facing the same problems.

Keywords: Danube Delta; Black Sea; Coastal erosion; Integrated Coastal Zone Management; Coastal sedimentary cell; EUROSION concepts; CONSCIENCE.

Source: A. Stănică, S. Dan, J. A. Jiménez and G. V. Ungureanu (2011); “Dealing with erosion along the Danube Delta coast. The CONSCIENCE experience towards a sustainable coastline management”, Coastal & Ocean Management, Article in Press, Accepted manuscript; Received: 3 September 2010; Revised: 11 May 2011; Accepted: 10 June 2011; Available online: 25 June 2011 under DOI: 10.1016/j.ocecoaman.2011.06.006.

Contact: astanica@geoecomar.ro

Link: ScienceDirect

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An institutional analysis of the sustainability of fisheries: insights from FishBanks simulation game

FishBanks, a well-known fisheries management simulation game, was used to test the effect of institutional settings on the biological and economic performance of fisheries. The game was played by 48 groups of between 20 and 25 undergraduate Environmental Science students in two different time lengths (10 years versus 15 years) and institutional settings (open access versus regulated access through a resource management regime). Sessions run under an institutional regime for resource management performed better than those under open access in terms of fish population, aggregate asset value and income distribution amongst competing companies. Fleet size, a proxy for human pressure on the resource, had a more intense effect than the existence or not of an institutional setting. Results also indicate that once a critical threshold is reached in stock deterioration, institutions may be insufficient to revert change, suggesting ultimate environmental limits to the effectiveness of institutions.

Keywords: Institutional analysis; Sustainability of fisheries; FishBanks simulation game.

Source: M. Ruiz-Pérez, F. Franco-Múgica, J. A. González, E. Gómez-Baggethun and M. A. Alberruche-Rico (2011); “An institutional analysis of the sustainability of fisheries: insights from FishBanks simulation game”, Ocean & Coastal Management, In Press, Accepted Manuscript; Available online: 15 June 2011 under DOI: 10.1016/j.ocecoaman.2011.05.009.

Contact: manuel.ruiz@uam.es

Link: ScienceDirect

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Can developed economies combat dangerous anthropogenic climate change without near-term reductions from developing economies? A letter

Developing economy greenhouse gas emissions are growing rapidly relative to developed economy emissions (Boden et al. 2010) and developing economies as a group have greater emissions than developed economies. These developments are expected to continue (U.S. Energy Information Administration 2010), which has led some to question the effectiveness of emissions mitigation in developed economies without a commitment to extensive mitigation action from developing economies. One often heard argument against proposed U.S. legislation to limit carbon emissions to mitigate climate change is that, without participation from large developing economies like China and India, stabilizing temperature at 2 degrees Celsius above preindustrial (United Nations 2009), or even reducing global emissions levels, would be impossible (Driessen 2009; RPC Energy Facts 2009) or prohibitively expensive (Clarke et al. 2009). Here we show that significantly delayed action by rapidly developing countries is not a reason to forgo mitigation efforts in developed economies. This letter examines the effect of a scenario with no explicit international climate policy and two policy scenarios, full global action and a developing economy delay, on the probability of exceeding various global average temperature changes by 2100. This letter demonstrates that even when developing economies delay any mitigation efforts until 2050, the effect of action by developed economies will appreciably reduce the probability of more extreme levels of temperature change. This paper concludes that early carbon mitigation efforts by developed economies will considerably affect the distribution over future climate change, whether or not developing countries begin mitigation efforts in the near term.

Keywords: Developed economies; Anthropogenic climate change; Developing economies; Greenhouse gas emissions.

Source: S. T. Waldhoff and A. A. Fawcett (2011); “Can developed economies combat dangerous anthropogenic climate change without near-term reductions from developing economies? A letter”, Climatic Change Journal; Received: 12 April 2011; Accepted: 2 June 2011; Published online: 6 July under DOI: 10.1007/s10584-011-0132-7.

Contact: waldhoff.stephanie@epa.gov

Link: SpringerLink

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