Nature Climate Change: Choosing and implementing adaptation measures to protect coastal populations and infrastructure from sea-level rise and storm surges is not easy

Coastal conundrums. Nature Climate Change 5,81 (2015) doi:10.1038/nclimate2527 Published online 28 January 2015

Extract from Nature Climate Change commentary

Choosing and implementing adaptation measures to protect coastal populations and infrastructure from sea-level rise and storm surges is no easy matter.Climate change adaptation involves many factors, including the likely social and economic impacts of adaptation measures themselves, and the political niceties of adaptation planning. This month, three research papers illustrate these issues nicely.

The millions of people that live and work along Vietnam’s vast Mekong Delta are vulnerable to the impacts of sea-level rise, and the effects of upstream development. Alex Smajgl and colleagues describe some of the difficult choices faced by the Vietnamese government in tackling these interrelated challenges, and some of the tensions and divisions that have emerged within the policy arena. …

In a separate paper , Leslie Auerbach and colleagues consider the case of the Ganges–Brahmaputra tidal delta plain of southwest Bangladesh. Specifically, they show that, through reduced sedimentation, the landscape of a low-lying island in the delta experienced a net elevation loss in the years after embankments were constructed in the 1960s. …

Orencia Duràn Vinent and Laura Moore also consider the landscape response to climate change, in this case in relation to barrier islands protecting mainland shores. …

Between them, these studies should open eyes to some of the complexities of climate adaption planning for coastal regions.

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