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. 89, 2016-03-01

Using ecologically or biologically significant marine areas (EBSAs) to implement marine spatial planning
(Abstract...)

Assessing the Resilience of Coastal Systems: A Probabilistic Approach
(Abstract...)

A history of climate change: Inughuit responses to changing ice conditions in North-West Greenland
(Abstract...)

Coastal planning should be based on proven sea level data
(Abstract...)

Abstract

Using ecologically or biologically significant marine areas (EBSAs) to implement marine spatial planning

The Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) agreed in 2008 on the need to identify Ecologically or Biologically Significant Marine Areas (EBSAs) in the world's oceans to focus future conservation and management efforts. From 2010 to 2014, 9 workshops had described 204 areas meeting the EBSA criteria in approximately 68% of the world's oceans. The workshops comprised experts nominated by more than 100 governments and a similar number of regional and global non government and intergovernmental organizations, supported by a technical team that collated data and provided mapping expertise. Despite this progress, there is uncertainty about how to use EBSA in Marine Spatial Planning (MSP). We review a suite of the existing MSP, Ecosystem Based Management, fisheries and conservation frameworks to determine their common elements and suggest how they can be synthesized. We propose an adaptive hierarchical approach that takes key elements from existing frameworks and show how EBSA can be used to support this approach within national jurisdictions and in areas beyond national jurisdiction. The adaptive hierarchical process encourages early implementation of MSP/EBM using available scientific knowledge and governance and supports the gradual progress to more complex and information rich structures as needed and appropriate. The EBSA process provides a sound basis for developing the scientific advice to support national and international management of the world's oceans by identifying marine systems and the criteria for which they are valued by regional experts.

Keywords: Ecologically or biologically significant area; Ecosystem based management; Marine spatial planning.

Source: P. K. Dunstan, N. J. Bax, J. M. Dambacher, K. R. Hayes, P. T. Hedge, D. C. Smith and A. D.M. Smith (2016); “Using ecologically or biologically significant marine areas (EBSAs) to implement marine spatial planning”, Review Article; Ocean & Coastal Management, Volume 121, March 2016, Pages 116-127; Received: 10 June 2015; Received in revised form: 23 November 2015; Accepted: 26 November 2015; Available online: 12 January 2016; doi:10.1016/j.ocecoaman.2015.11.021

Contact: Piers.Dunstan@csiro.au

Link: ScienceDirect

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Assessing the Resilience of Coastal Systems: A Probabilistic Approach

Resilience is the ability to anticipate, prepare for, and adapt to changing conditions and withstand, respond to, and recover rapidly from disruptions. Methods and tools to quantify resilience are needed to provide actionable intelligence to plan, design, construct, and manage coastal systems. This paper describes how a probabilistic measure of resilience can be assessed for a coastal community using a Bayesian network. The measure of resilience is the joint probability of meeting two management objectives, one with respect to the level of system performance and the other with respect to the length of time required to restore system performance. This paper describes a pilot study to demonstrate the approach in Jamaica Bay, New York, a dense, urban, residential community located on the southern coast of Long Island. Results of the pilot study illustrate how practical information can be developed to support decisions about managing coastal systems. The pilot study provides insights into data and information requirements; the advantages, challenges, and limitations of the approach; and the feasibility of implementing this approach for operations. This approach to resilience assessment is well suited for coastal planning contexts because it explicitly incorporates information about uncertainty in the severity of coastal storm events, as well as uncertainty in how the system will perform when exposed to storm loads. The method challenges the community to establish explicit objectives for coastal resilience, identifies what data are needed to monitor progress toward objectives, and provides a platform from which to explore how those objectives might be achieved in practice.

Keywords: Bayesian network; Infrastructure networks; Risk assessment; Engineering resilience; Community resilience; Natural hazards; Extreme events; Lifelines; Jamaica Bay

Source: M. T. Schultz and E. R. Smith (2016); “Assessing the Resilience of Coastal Systems: A Probabilistic Approach”, Online ahead of print, Journal of Coastal Research In-Press; Received: 5 September 2015; Accepted: 16 October 2015; Received: 9 December 2015; Published: 20 January 2016;

Contact: Martin.T.Schultz@usace.army.mil

Link: JCR

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A history of climate change: Inughuit responses to changing ice conditions in North-West Greenland

This article presents a small community of High Arctic hunters (the Inughuit in North West Greenland) who have always had to negotiate climatic changes with great impact on their living conditions. This points us toward the natural-social entanglements implied in the notion of the Anthropocene, and to the new intellectual challenges that both natural and social scientists are facing in relation to the current climatic changes. These challenges are discussed through the case of the Inughuit with whom the author has worked over many years. Departing from their dire situation in the 19th century, when they were first described and became known to outsiders, it is shown how flexibility and mobility were always preconditions for survival in this environment. Then, they were trapped in too much ice, while now they have to negotiate a rapidly melting environment. In both cases their response is deeply implicated in their sense of who they were and are, also in relation to a larger world.

Keywords: History; Climate change; Inughuit; North-West Greenland.

Source: K. Hastrup (2016); “A history of climate change: Inughuit responses to changing ice conditions in North-West Greenland”, Climate Change, February 2016, Pages 1-12; Received: 3 May 2015; Accepted: 9 February 2016; First online: 19 February 2016 under DOI: 10.1007/s10584-016-1628-y

Contact: kirsten.hastrup@anthro.ku.dk

Link: Climatic Change Journal

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Coastal planning should be based on proven sea level data

There are two related measures of sea level, the absolute sea level, which is the increase in the sea level in an absolute reference frame, and relative sea level, which is the increase in sea level recorded by tide gauges. The first measure is a rather abstract computation, far from being reliable, and is preferred by activists and politicians for no scientific reason. For local and global problems it is better to use local tide gauge data. Proper coastal management should be based on proved measurements of sea level. Tide gauges provide the most reliable measurements, and best data to assess the rate of change. We show as the naïve averaging of all the tide gauges included in the PSMSL surveys show “relative” rates of rise about +1.04 mm/year (570 tide gauges of any length). If we consider only 100 tide gauges with more than 80 years of recording the rise is only +0.25 mm/year. This naïve averaging has been stable and shows that the sea levels are slowly rising but not accelerating. We also show as the additional information provided by GPS and satellite altimetry is of very little help. Computations of “absolute” sea levels suffer from inaccuracies with errors larger than the estimated trends. The GPS is more reliable than satellite altimetry, but the accuracy of the estimation of the vertical velocity at GPS domes is still well above ±1 mm/year and the relative motion of tide gauges vs. GPS domes is mostly unassessed. The satellite altimetry returns a noisy signal so that a +3.2 mm/year trend is only achieved by arbitrary “corrections”. We conclude that if the sea levels are only oscillating about constant trends everywhere as suggested by the tide gauges, then the effects of climate change are negligible, and the local patterns may be used for local coastal planning without any need of purely speculative global trends based on emission scenarios. Ocean and coastal management should acknowledge all these facts. As the relative rates of rises are stable worldwide, coastal protection should be introduced only where the rate of rise of sea levels as determined from historical data show a tangible short term threat. As the first signs the sea levels will rise catastrophically within few years are nowhere to be seen, people should start really thinking about the warnings not to demolish everything for a case nobody knows will indeed happen.

Keywords: Sea level; Measurements; Computations; Tide gauges; Coastal management.

Source: A. Parker and C.D. Ollier (2016); “Coastal planning should be based on proven sea level data”, Opinion Paper, Ocean & Coastal Management, Volume 124, May 2016, Pages 1–9; Published online under: DOI:10.1016/j.ocecoaman.2016.02.005

Contact: albert.parker.2014@gmail.com

Link: ScienceDirect

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