Each year about 100,000 citizens are affected by coastal flooding which, by the end of the century, will increase the most in France, the UK and Italy, as well as Denmark. Along these coastlines just a little bit of sea-level rise already leads to a relatively large shift of the return period of a certain flood level, and these flood levels will occur far more often even if sea-level rises only a few centimetres. This share is projected to grow in the coming decades to range between 0.29 and 0.86% of GDP by the end of this century for the scenarios considered, which is far larger than the share of future river flood risk to GDP in high-income countries (81). (2016), DeConto and Pollard (2016), in: Oppenheimer and Alley (2016), Church et al. In 2019, IPCC has presented updates on observed global mean sea level (GMSL) (92): The sum of ice sheet and glacier contributions over the period 2006 – 2015 is the dominant source of sea level rise, exceeding the effect of thermal expansion of ocean water (92). For flood protection by improving dykes, costs and benefits have been evaluated of applying additional protection through dyke improvements along the European coastline in response to the increasing extreme sea levels. This is a 96% - 98% reduction compared to a do-nothing scenario. At country level, Belgium is the country with the highest percentage of coastline where benefits exceed costs, followed by France and Italy. (2016); Reeve et al. (2007), in: Vousdoukas et al. ERC grantee Jadranka Šepić at the University of Split in Croatia is investigating how climate change will affect the strength and frequency of tsunami-like flooding events along European According to the authors of this study, inland living space will probably be partially or wholly off-limits to newcomers. Our scientific work supports a whole host of EU policies in a variety of areas from agriculture and food security, to environment and climate change, as well as nuclear safety and security and innovation and growth. Without the current flood defences, Amsterdam, Hamburg and Copenhagen would be among Europe's most vulnerable coastal cities, with a worst case expected annual damage in 2100 of over 1.1 billion Euros for each of these cities (91). In this update, coastal defences are not considered since location data of the defences are not available at the global scale. Thus, the benefits from protecting the Netherlands further are high, even though flood events are rare (108). There is a wide uncertainty around these central estimates due to, for instance, different ice-sheet scenarios and the spread in outcomes of different models. There are no European cities in the Top 20 of cities ranked by risk in 2005 (expressed as the highest economic average annual losses). A minimum sea level rise of 15 cm is expected until 2050 (1). Coastal flooding risks are significant within Greater Lincolnshire. By 2030, however, most of the urban land within the LECZ will be found in the developing countries. To maintain present flood risk, adaptation will need to reduce flood probabilities below present values. Figure: Annual damage and population exposed to coastal flooding for the EU and UK in present and by 2100 under two greenhouse gas emissions scenarios, with and without adaptation respectively. Drivers that contribute to sea level rise are thermal expansion of ocean water, melting glaciers, mass loss of the Greenland and Antarctic ice sheets, and changes in water volumes stored on land. (2015), in: Zemp et al. According to this study, there is a 27% chance of local sea level in London exceeding 93 cm under RCP8.5 (and a 3% chance of exceeding 1.9 m); in the past, these high values for sea level rise in the United Kingdom were considered unlikely (20). Glaciers distinct from the Greenland and Antarctic ice sheets cover an area of approximately 706,000 square kilometres globally (84). For the latter three countries, this is due to the ongoing land uplift at the Baltic Sea that moderates the contribution of sea-level rise and results in a weaker physical footprint in future damages. (2012), in: Vousdoukas et al. (2018), Huizinga (2007), in: Vousdoukas et al. LONDON, 19 March, 2017 – Europe’s politicians have more to worry about than the rising tide of populism. For the latter, an increase of global population was assumed until mid-century, reaching approximately 9 billion people before slightly declining (the so-called socioeconomic SSP2 scenario) (75). An extreme water level of 3.2 m resulting from the combined action of surges and waves is expected once every 50 years. Among the barriers-to-entry in interior areas are so-called depletion zones: territories unlikely to support future human existence without unprecedented investment. With respect to the contribution of waves, only wave setup (and no wave run-up) was considered (90). Insurers Float Fast Flood Protection, as Britain Fails to Confront Risk. High-resolution projections of all these extreme sea-level components, based on a moderate (RCP4.5) and high-end scenario of climate change (RCP8.5), were combined with projections of gross domestic production (GDP), population and exposed assets. The IPCC concluded that mass loss from the Antarctic ice sheet over the period 2007 -  2016 tripled relative to 1997 - 2006. Projected storm surge changes strongly vary for different parts of Europe, however. At a country scale, relative economic impacts can be even more pronounced (up to 5% of a country’s GDP by 2100), with the highest burden relative to its economy projected for Cyprus, Norway, Ireland and Denmark. The method based on land use within areas subject to 1/100 year flood events resulted in an estimate of total flood exposure of 27 trillion USD in 2010 and projected increase to 80 trillion USD by 2050. Explosive remnants of war (land mines, for instance) further diminish usable replacement space while it’s lasting chemical constituents (e.g., Agent Orange) jeopardize food chains across generations, and are responsible for ‘no-man’s lands’ in 80 countries (57). Coastal flood damages are expected to increase significantly during the 21st century as sea levels rise and socioeconomic development increases the number of people and value of assets in the coastal floodplain. A spatial trade-off presents itself when inland cities absorb immigrant waves moving out of the threatened coastal zone. Flooding and floods in Europe. The amount of water that is stored on land is not constant. (2018), Alfieri et al. They quantified the uncertainties of the physical processes that determine the mass balance of the ice sheets of the Greenland, West Antarctic, and East Antarctic ice sheets under two scenarios of global warming: a scenario of +2 °C stabilization in 2100 above preindustrial conditions, and a scenario of +5 °C stabilization in 2100. There appears to be a distinct difference between mid-latitude and high latitudes regions in northwestern Europe: compound flooding occurs more often in mid-latitude regions, along the west facing coasts of the United Kingdom, Germany, the Netherlands, and Sweden. Global economic exposure to both river and coastal flooding has been estimated for the period 1970–2050, using two different methods for damage assessment (1): The largest absolute exposure changes between 1970 and 2050 are simulated in North America and Asia. (2019), in: IPCC (2019b), Tighe and Chamberlain (2009)' LaLonde et al. By William J. (2016), Androulidakis et al. (2017), in: Nauels et al. High- and low-end scenarios of global warming are 6.0 W/m2 and 2.6 W/m2, respectively (64). A preliminary satellite-based estimate of the climate-change–driven acceleration of sea level rise was obtained by (67), based on 25 years time series of satellite altimeter data. Experts who took part in an expert judgement study find it plausible that sea level could exceed 2 m by 2100 under the business as usual scenario, more than twice the upper value put forward by the IPCC in 2014. In large parts of the world, high-quality (airborne) land elevation data are unavailable or expensive. In particular, in 2200, inland regions tend to gain around 1.5% of GDP. Under the assumption that countries do invest in flood protection as long as benefits of extra flood protection exceed the costs of damage due to flooding, the expected annual damage by 2100 will only reach €9 and €24 billion under the moderate and high-end scenario of climate change, respectively. The largest increase in the amount of urban land exposed to both floods and droughts is expected in Southern Asia (12). Large uncertainties remain, however. In the past decade, despite improvements in early warning systems, there have been a number of significant storm surge events … The satellites measure the height of trees and buildings, and not the land surface. Copy link. How much sea level rise is to be expected at the upper limit of current IPCC scenarios? Just how serious the squeeze on productive land will be is a function of future urban growth. (2016), Ramillien et al. Urban areas exposed to both floods and droughts. (2020), Ward et al. The study examined how Europe’s 62,000 miles of coastline would be impacted if sea levels rose 0.5 to 2.5 meters (1.6 to 8.2 feet). The impact of greenhouses gases on global warming is described in so-called Radiative Forcing Targets: the energy intensity that warms the atmosphere, expressed in W/m2. Projected regional sea level rise near a number of northern European cities under this scenario, including an Antarctic marine ice sheet collapse, is shown below. The effect of climate change at the extreme total sea level is the main trigger of the increasing coastal inundation and the related losses at the coastal zone. Next to these components, the contributions of other components are still more or les blind spots in scientific literature: expansion of the ocean due to the warming of deep ocean water > 2 km, and water flowing into the ocean from permafrost melting, for instance. In particular, river basins at high‐latitudes in the northern hemisphere, including the Lena, Mackenzie and Volga basins, have lost a lot of water to the oceans. Recent projections of sea level rise may capture the ice sheet contribution better than in the past, leading to upward adjustment of sea level rise projections. The 0.8 mm/year increase between these two periods dominantly results from increased land ice loss from Greenland (+ 0.5 mm/year) (39). (2014); Forootan et al. Currently, risk assessments consider storm surges and heavy precipitation independently. Older studies seem to have underestimated ice flow. Even if adaptation investments maintain constant flood probability, subsidence and sea-level rise will increase global flood losses to US$60–63 billion per year in 2050. In Europe, High-Tech Flood Control, With Nature's Help . The same satellite data have been studied by (68), be it over a shorter time period of 2005-2015, but they combined these data with observations of changing salinity and temperature in the oceans, and of land water and land ice contributions to global mean sea level rise. Zemp et al. Waves, storm surges, and tides in turn are influenced by the morphology of the coastal zone. It is to be expected that flood protection standards will be upgraded. (2016), in: Vousdoukas et al. For adaptation, dykes are raised to a level of protection that maximises their economic benefit. Also, there are no European cities in the Top 20 for cities with the highest economic average annual losses in 2050, assuming an optimistic sea level rise of 20 cm between 2005 and 2050 and a policy where the current flood probability is maintained. In this study, flood protection standards were not upgraded in time. By 2050 this number is projected to rise to around 533,000 – 742,000, further climbing to 1.52 - 3.65 million people by the end of the century. In these coastal areas nuisance flooding, therefore, will strongly increase and will continue to be a major (increasing) problem (40). (2018), in: Ganguli and Merz (2019). The impact of sea-level rise on magnifying (multiplying) the frequency of occurrence of a specific flood level depends on the combination of the factors mentioned above, and these factors are different from one place to another. In the previous century sea level rise has been 2-3 mm/year along the Atlantic coast and a little less along the Mediterranean. (2008); Svensson and Jones (2001); Svensson and Jones (2004), all in: Ganguli and Merz (2019), Zscheischler et al. When ice shelves break off entirely they leave cliffs that calve icebergs directly into the ocean (32). Coastal flood risk Spain Sea level rise in Spain . Updated information on the level of coastal protection was used (79). In the United Kingdom, for instance, 70% of the land is owned by 1% of the population (55). The total assets exposed to coastal flooding is set to increase from 9% to 13% of global GDP today, to between 12% and 20% by 2100. Compared with 3.5 mm/year mean sea level rise we are missing a contribution of about 0.4 mm/year. The authors stress, however, that water from land resources is the most uncertain contribution to sea level change (101). Europe has a coastline of over 100,000 km, with coastal zones that are densely populated and pivotal for its economy. Preventing all floods is not possible, but they can be managed to reduce the hazard to lives and property by the most cost-effective measures (Williams, 1994). The results are based on projections by a large number of climate models (GCMs) for the end of this century considering two scenarios of climate change: a moderate and a high-end scenario (the so-called RCP4.5 and RCP8.5 scenarios). (2017), Kharif and Pelinovsky (2003), in: O’Brien et al. Europe. The Flooding Days Projection Tool is an online dashboard that projects the number of high tide flooding days per year for 97 U.S. cities, based on National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) impact thresholds. With respect to the global water cycle, two components can be distinguished: human-driven changes and climate-driven changes (22). 250 million people now live on land below annual flood levels, again much higher than the previous estimate of 65 million (5). The economic damage from coastal flooding in Europe could reach almost €1 trillion per year by 2100 without new investment in adaptation to climate change, a new study finds. Along this coastline the frequency of current low frequency events will increase much less with sea-level rise (41). (2017), Bars et al. This implies that if flood protection standards are not upgraded along Europe’s coasts and rivers, the total flood risk in Europe will increasingly be dominated by coastal flood hazards from the mid-century onwards. The results of this assessment are summarized below (12). Coastal Floods: Researchers at the University of Graz assess compound flood hazard for coastal areas worldwide Mag. Five scenarios of socio-economic development, the so-called Shared Socioeconomic Pathways (SSPs), have been designed to comprehensively capture varying levels of socioeconomic challenges to mitigation and adaptation (65): These Shared Socioeconomic Pathways and Radiative Forcing Targets can be combined to estimate future sea level rise. These regions, therefore, will also experience greater increases in flooding frequency due to sea-level rise. The authors point at a perverse circularity here: competition for productive lands caused by the combination of war and natural disasters produces refugees whose needs for living space may fuel yet more conflict (58). LJUBLJANA, Slovenia - Heavy rains have battered parts of … (2013), in: Geisler and Currens (2017), Cahill (2001), in: Geisler and Currens (2017), Charmes (2012), in: Geisler and Currens (2017), ICRC (2011), in: Geisler and Currens (2017), de Koning (2009); Klare (2012); Fry (2012), all in: Geisler and Currens (2017), Siders (2013), in: Geisler and Currens (2017), Brown et al. In addition, on-going wars and regional conflicts are a much-underestimated barrier to entry. The estimated total number of people killed by storm surge events over the period 1900-2015 according to this database amounts to about 1 million, while the total number of people affected is 172 million. The first is expensive and the second often beset by legal challenges, the authors state. (2012); Marcos et al. Compound flooding in coastal regions, i.e., the simultaneous or successive occurrence of high sea levels and high river flows, is expected to increase in a warmer world. (2017), O’Neill et al. In one of these studies a significant acceleration of sea level rise was identified from 2.67 ± 0.19 mm/year in 1993-2004 to 3.49 ± 0.14 mm/year in 2004-2015. Adaptation, however, is already ongoing in several European countries, and others will follow. These recent results on increased flooding potential under sea-level rise suggest a dire future for the top 20 cities (by GDP) vulnerable to coastal flooding (42), and for many wave-exposed cities such as Mumbai, Kochi, Grande Vitoria, and Abidjan which may be significantly affected by only 5 cm of sea-level rise. The results by (39) contradict the results of a previous study that points at lower (13) sea level rise based on data over almost the same period: 2.6 - 2.9 ± 0.4 mm/year. Results indicate that at least 83% of flood damages in Europe could be avoided by elevating dykes in an economically efficient way along 23.7%-32.1% of Europe’s coastline, specifically where high value conurbations exist. No-trespass zones are landscapes severely encumbered by legal exclusion (landownership concentration and gated cities), violence (war and conflict), and unusual risk (land mines and radioactivity). In Europe, in 1953 a coastal surge killed 300 people in the east of England and several thousand in the Netherlands and Belgium. Severe storm periods may be associated with high winds leading to storm surges, and at the same time with high precipitation followed by inland flooding (104). Compound flooding may lead to significant impacts and much more disastrous consequences than each of these extremes individually. Only 10 cm of sea-level rise doubles the flooding potential in high-latitude regions such as the North American west coast (including the major population centres Vancouver, Seattle, San Francisco, and Los Angeles), and the European Atlantic coast (40). The impact of a storm may be noticed in river discharge a couple of days later than in storm surge levels at the coast because it will take some time for rainfall to reach the river. Broad. For Western Europe these numbers are 34% (2000) and 34% (2030), and for Eastern Europe 9% (2000) and 10% (2030) (12). (2017), Deconto and Pollard (2016), in: Le Bars et al. They showed that the amount of water stored on land in river basins has decreased and that this loss to the oceans accounts for about 0.3 mm/year (101). (2009), in: Gardner et al. Compound flooding occurs where storm surges and heavy rainfall combine. Direct costs from sea level rise in the countries of the EU without adaptation could reach 17 billion Euros per year by 2100 (10). Storm surges and wave set up may contribute much more to extreme sea levels in some parts of Europe, however; especially for the Baltic Sea (65% and 35% by 2050 and 2100, respectively), and to a slightly lesser extent for the North Sea. This does not agree with findings in other studies that show that sea level rise can affect tides locally for RSLR < 1.0 m (37) or >2.0m (38). Correlations between high water levels at the coast and in rivers have been reported in the scientific literature both globally (105), and regionally across Europe (106). The upper ranges of their estimates, expressed as a 5 per cent probability, are much higher however: 81 cm for +2 °C, and 178 cm for +5 °C in 2100. The occurrence of very substantial loss of life (>10 000 persons) from single events has decreased over time, especially since the 1960s. Coastal flooding occurs when normally dry, low-lying land is flooded by seawater. ) land elevation data are available for parts of Europe 2015 values ) could rise as... Since 1993 global mean sea level rise and coastal adaptation measures ( very likely will become more catastrophic due the... 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