Climate Change Adaptation
- Today's coasts face an unprecedented challenge, struggling to cope and adapt in the midst of a changing climate. In coastal areas, the consequences of climate change are already evident, with global sea-level rising 10 to 25 cm over the last century (Pew, 2009). By 2100, this number is expected to increase anywhere from 0.5 to 1.4 meters above the 1990 level (Rhamstorf, 2007). Increased incidence and severity of coastal storms and hurricanes are also predicted to result from warming oceans and weather anomalies. Coastal zones are particularly vulnerable to sea-level rise and enhanced storms, facing serious impacts including: (1) inundation and displacement of wetlands and lowlands; (2) increased coastal erosion; (3) increased coastal storm flooding; and (4) salinization (Barth & Titus, 1984). Widespread human development in many of these areas further compromises the coastal system's natural integrity, simultaneously augmenting erosion and forfeiting inherent resiliency.