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.
Climate change is widely recognised as a serious threat along the coastal areas of the Mediterranean Basin, where increased erosion patterns, decreased sediment discharge, intensification of floods, saltwater intrusion and loss of biodiversity increase vulnerability. These issues are of particular concern for the Ebro Delta. This article examines the vulnerability of the Spanish Ebro Delta to climate change effects using existing studies, projections, and interviews. The aim is to identify possible options for climate change adaptation in order to moderate the vulnerability to problematic conditions. The results show that to date human management has had a higher impact on this area than climate change. It was also shown that the majority of interviewees recommend the softest option for adaptation, the one that is most in harmony with the nature.
Keywords: Vulnerability; Climate change and adaptation; Ebro Delta
Source: S. Fatoric and L. Chelleri (2012); “Vulnerability to the effects of climate change and adaptation: The case of the Spanish Ebro Delta”, to appear in Ocean & Coastal Management, Volume 60, May 2012, pages 1 – 10; Available online: 4 January 2012, under DOI:10.1016/j.ocecoaman.2011.12.015.
The Medium Littoral of the Rio Grande do Sul coastal plain comprises about 2.5 million inhabitants living in the 17 municipalities along the Patos Lagoon coast. The Patos Lagoon is the largest lagoon in Brazil and the second largest in South America, with an area of about 10,000 km2. It is connected to the Atlantic Ocean through a narrow canal and sustains artisanal fisheries, familiar agriculture and Indian activities in the vicinity, as well as high technology agriculture and industry. The National Coastal Management Plan founded the Brazilian coastal management policy, which explicitly depends on spatial tools. Thus, the present work aims to understand the spatial structure and dynamics of the medium littoral of Rio Grande do Sul State to support coastal management. An important basis for policy was developed analyzing the land use and cover changes occurred in the last decades and their historical, political, and socioeconomic context. We propose an environmental zoning scheme and build a prediction model of land change. The environmental zoning specifies three management classes - preservation, conservation, and development - covering 23.3%, 9.7% and 67.0% of the area, respectively. The land change prediction model points the areas most likely susceptible to change. These should be priority areas for planning. The results we present have been used in environmental regulation instruments at municipal level. This paper also discusses the potential to further integrate our results with other mechanisms and scales of coastal management.
Keywords: Environmental planning; Rio Grande do Sul coastal plain; National Coastal Management Plan; Environmental zoning scheme; Land change prediction model.
Source: T.S. Silva and P.R.A. Tagliani (2012); “Environmental planning in the medium littoral of the Rio Grande do Sul coastal plain - Southern Brazil: Elements for coastal management”; to appear in Ocean & Coastal Management, Volume 59, April 2012, pages 20 – 30; Available online: 2 January 2012, under DOI:10.1016/j.ocecoaman.2011.12.014.
This paper presents a systematic framework for assessing the costs of sea-level rise (SLR) and extreme flooding at the local level. The method is generic and transferable. It is built on coupling readily available GIS capabilities with quantitative estimates of the effects of natural hazards. This allows for the ex ante monetization of the main costs related to different scenarios of permanent inundation and periodic flooding. This approach can be used by coastal zone planners to generate vital information on land use, capital stock and population at risk for jurisdictions of different sizes. The simple mechanics of the method are presented with respect to two examples: one relates to the two largest coastal cities in Israel (Tel Aviv and Haifa) and the other to the Northern Coastal Strip region containing a variety of small towns and rural communities. The paper concludes with implications for coastal zone planning praxis.
Source: M. Lichter and D. Felsenstein (2012); “Assessing the costs of sea-level rise and extreme flooding at the local level: A GIS-based approach”, to appear in Ocean & Coastal Management, Volume 59, April 2012, pages 47 – 62; Available online: 5 January 2012, under DOI:10.1016/j.ocecoaman.2011.12.020.
The March 11, 2011, magnitude 9, Tōhoku earthquake off the coast of Japan generated a tsunami that crossed the Pacific Ocean and impacted the shores of the U.S. West Coast. Analyses of the arrival times, wave heights, periods, and total water levels from the tsunami waves and the tides have been undertaken for 17 tide gauges along the length of the West Coast. Significant along-coast variations in wave heights were found, with the highest waves having been recorded at Crescent City (maximum height of 4.23 m) in northern California and in San Luis Obispo Bay (maximum 4.25 m) in southern California. It was concluded that similar to the Kuril Island tsunami in 2006, the particularly large wave heights that impacted the California–Oregon border region, including Crescent City, California, were the result of wave refraction that focused tsunami energy into a relatively narrow band as it crossed the ocean from Japan, followed by local shelf resonance that further enhanced the wave heights and determined the dominant wave periods recorded by tide gauges. Detailed analyses of the tsunami waves at Crescent City, California, and nearby at Port Orford, Oregon, documented the differences in their heights and periods and in the profiles of the maximum measured waves. The effects to developments along the coast varied in response to the local wave conditions, moderated by the largest waves having arrived during a low tide. Undoubtedly, damage to infrastructure would have been greater had the waves arrived a few hours earlier, at the time of the Higher High tide. The resulting damage occurred almost entirely within the harbours, brought about mainly by the strong to-and-fro currents that alternately filled and then emptied the boat basins, capsizing boats and damaging docks.
Source: Allan, J.C., Komar, P.D., Ruggiero, P. and Witter, R. (2012); “The March 2011 Tōhoku tsunami and its impacts along the U.S. West Coast”, Journal of Coastal Research In-Press; Received: 24 June 2011; Accepted: 23 September 2011; Published Online: 5 January, 2012.