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.
During the last decennium climate change has received much attention and especially various mitigation and adaptation strategies have gained political awareness. Particularly the coastal zone will be affected by derived consequences like sea level rise, increased storminess and flooding. In order to mitigate the most severe consequences for the society, it is decisive that urban and regional planners address the climate change issue in their planning efforts. Using modelling and simulation, we can increase our understanding of the future land-use system under influence of a changing climate and accordingly reduce uncertainty concerning decisions. The current paper describes how to carry out land-use simulations as envisaged by the SRES narratives using a multi-criteria land-use modelling framework. Combined with expected future flooding due to sea level rise we perform an impact assessment on future urban development. Finally, we describe how the definition of adaptation strategies can facilitate spatial planning measures to counteract the consequences of potential climate changes.
Source: H. S. Hansen (2010); “Modelling the future coastal zone urban development as implied by the IPCC SRES and assessing the impact from sea level rise”, Landscape and Urban Planning, Volume 98, Issues 3-4, 30 December 2010, Pages 141-149; Available Online: 2 October 2010, under DOI:10.1016/j.landurbplan.2010.08.018.
Since its inception in 1988, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) has
worked with the growing recognition that uncertainty is pervasive in our understanding of
the climate system: what drives climate change, what will determine its future course, and
what influence it will have on important social and ecological aspects of our world. It is not
news that the IPCC has struggled, with varying degrees of success, in its efforts to describe
these uncertainties and to judge the confidence with which it can offer its major conclusions. Richard Moss and Stephen Schneider (Moss and Schneider 2000) were the
lead authors of IPCC’s first attempt to provide some guidance for authors in this regard,
during the preparation of the Third Assessment Report (the TAR). A second guidance
document was created by an author team headed by Martin Manning and Rob Swart
(Manning et al. 2004) after an expert meeting to support the Fourth Assessment Report
(AR4), and yet another version was produced after another expert meeting by a cross working
group team (Mastrandrea et al. 2010) as chapter authors assembled to begin their
work on the Fifth Assessment Report (AR5). This most recent attempt, informed by the
history of previous assessments, is the point of departure for the papers in this special issue
of Climatic Change. It has become clear to most observers that the sources of uncertainty are not confined to our evolving understanding of how the climate system works. Within that sphere, many conclusions are now widely accepted even though many of the details of specific sources of risk are still sketchy. Uncertainty about how our socio-political-economic systems will evolve may be even greater because such changes are in many ways nearly impossible to envision [see Hawkins and Sutton 2009, and 2010].
Keywords: Climate change; Uncertainty; Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC).
Source: G. Yohe and M. Oppenheimer (2011); “Evaluation, characterization, and communication of uncertainty by the intergovernmental panel on climate change - an introductory essay”, from the issue entitled "Special Issue: Guidance for Characterizing and Communicating Uncertainty and Confidence in the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change"; Climatic Change, Volume 108, Number 4, Pages 629 – 639; Received: 26 May 2011; Accepted: 1 July 2011; Published Online: 13 August 2011, under DOI: 10.1007/s10584-011-0176-8.
The RCP2.6 emission and concentration pathway is representative of the literature on mitigation scenarios aiming to limit the increase of global mean temperature to 2°C. These scenarios form the low end of the scenario literature in terms of emissions and radiative forcing. They often show negative emissions from energy use in the second half of the 21st century. The RCP2.6 scenario is shown to be technically feasible in the IMAGE integrated assessment modeling framework from a medium emission baseline scenario, assuming full participation of all countries. Cumulative emissions of greenhouse gases from 2010 to 2100 need to be reduced by 70% compared to a baseline scenario, requiring substantial changes in energy use and emissions of non-CO2 gases. These measures (specifically the use of bio-energy and reforestation measures) also have clear consequences for global land use. Based on the RCP2.6 scenario, recommendations for further research on low emission scenarios have been formulated. These include the response of the climate system to a radiative forcing peak, the ability of society to achieve the required emission reduction rates given political and social inertia and the possibilities to further reduce emissions of non-CO2 gases.
Keywords: RCP2.6 scenario; Global mean temperature increase.
Source: D.P. van Vuuren, E. Stehfest, M. G. J. den Elzen, T. Kram, J. van Vliet, S. Deetman, M. Isaac, K.K. Goldewijk, A. Hof, A.M. Beltran, R. Oostenrijk and B. van Ruijven (2011); “RCP2.6: exploring the possibility to keep global mean temperature increase below 2°C”, Climatic Change (2011), Volume 109, Pages 95–116; Received: 17 September 2010; Accepted: 21 June 2011; Published Online: 5 August 2011, under DOI 10.1007/s10584-011-0152-3.
Florida (United States) beaches serve as globally important nesting habitat for protected species of sea turtles. Following coastal development, portions of this habitat have become inaccessible to nesting sea turtles due to coastal armoring and other barriers. To assess nesting habitat quality, we randomly selected beaches totaling 80.45 km in each of four regions of Florida (northeast, southeast, northwest, and southwest) and surveyed them for potential barriers to nesting during the period of April 2001 to May 2002 (total surveyed coastline = 321.8 km). Potential barriers to nesting were found in 78 forms on sampled beaches, including seawalls, revetments, sand bags or tubes, sand fences, access structures, recreational equipment, and buildings. We determined the position and extent of structures using a differential global positioning system. Surveyed beaches made up 24.5% of Florida's sandy coastline and were sampled to be regionally representative. In an assessment summed for all regions, potential barriers to nesting occupied 18.0% of the total surveyed beach length. The region with the greatest extent of potential barriers was southeast (23.8%), followed by southwest (21.7%), northwest (14.1%), and northeast (12.3%). Seawalls were the most common potential barriers in all but the northwest region, where sand fences were most common. Our measurements did not include structures that were hidden from view by sand or other structures. Following coastal effects from four major hurricanes that made landfall in 2004, we resurveyed 16 km of beach in each region (total = 64 km). We recorded a net reduction of sand fencing in northeast and northwest Florida and a net reduction of revetment rocks in the southwest region due to covering by sand. However, the linear extent of barriers increased in northeast and southwest due to seawall construction and additional sand fencing.
Source: B. Witherington, S. Hirama and A. Mosier (2011); “Barriers to Sea Turtle Nesting on Florida (United States) Beaches: Linear Extent and Changes Following Storms”, Journal of Coastal Research, Volume 27, Issue 3, Pages 450 – 458; Received: 13 October 2009; Accepted: 2 February 2009; Published Online under DOI:10.2112/JCOASTRES-D-09-00146.1.