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      Mediterranean UNESCO World Heritage at risk from coastal flooding and erosion due to sea-level rise

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          Abstract

          UNESCO World Heritage sites (WHS) located in coastal areas are increasingly at risk from coastal hazards due to sea-level rise. In this study, we assess Mediterranean cultural WHS at risk from coastal flooding and erosion under four sea-level rise scenarios until 2100. Based on the analysis of spatially explicit WHS data, we develop an index-based approach that allows for ranking WHS at risk from both coastal hazards. Here we show that of 49 cultural WHS located in low-lying coastal areas of the Mediterranean, 37 are at risk from a 100-year flood and 42 from coastal erosion, already today. Until 2100, flood risk may increase by 50% and erosion risk by 13% across the region, with considerably higher increases at individual WHS. Our results provide a first-order assessment of where adaptation is most urgently needed and can support policymakers in steering local-scale research to devise suitable adaptation strategies for each WHS.

          Abstract

          UNESCO World Heritage located in low-lying coastal areas is increasingly at risk from flooding and erosion due to sea-level rise. This study shows that up to 82% of cultural World Heritage sites located in the Mediterranean will be at risk from coastal flooding and over 93% from coastal erosion by 2100 under high-end sea-level rise.

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          The rising tide: assessing the risks of climate change and human settlements in low elevation coastal zones

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            Future flood losses in major coastal cities

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              Coastal flood damage and adaptation costs under 21st century sea-level rise.

              Coastal flood damage and adaptation costs under 21st century sea-level rise are assessed on a global scale taking into account a wide range of uncertainties in continental topography data, population data, protection strategies, socioeconomic development and sea-level rise. Uncertainty in global mean and regional sea level was derived from four different climate models from the Coupled Model Intercomparison Project Phase 5, each combined with three land-ice scenarios based on the published range of contributions from ice sheets and glaciers. Without adaptation, 0.2-4.6% of global population is expected to be flooded annually in 2100 under 25-123 cm of global mean sea-level rise, with expected annual losses of 0.3-9.3% of global gross domestic product. Damages of this magnitude are very unlikely to be tolerated by society and adaptation will be widespread. The global costs of protecting the coast with dikes are significant with annual investment and maintenance costs of US$ 12-71 billion in 2100, but much smaller than the global cost of avoided damages even without accounting for indirect costs of damage to regional production supply. Flood damages by the end of this century are much more sensitive to the applied protection strategy than to variations in climate and socioeconomic scenarios as well as in physical data sources (topography and climate model). Our results emphasize the central role of long-term coastal adaptation strategies. These should also take into account that protecting large parts of the developed coast increases the risk of catastrophic consequences in the case of defense failure.
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                Author and article information

                Contributors
                reimann@geographie.uni-kiel.de
                Journal
                Nat Commun
                Nat Commun
                Nature Communications
                Nature Publishing Group UK (London )
                2041-1723
                16 October 2018
                16 October 2018
                2018
                : 9
                Affiliations
                [1 ]ISNI 0000 0001 2153 9986, GRID grid.9764.c, Department of Geography, , Kiel University, ; Ludewig-Meyn-Strasse 14, 24118 Kiel, Germany
                [2 ]ISNI 0000 0004 1936 9297, GRID grid.5491.9, Faculty of Physical Sciences, , University of Southampton, ; University Road, Highfield, Southampton, SO17 1BJ UK
                [3 ]ISNI 0000 0001 0728 4630, GRID grid.17236.31, Department of Life and Environmental Sciences, , Faculty of Science and Technology, Bournemouth University, ; Fern Barrow, Poole, Dorset, BH12 5BB UK
                [4 ]GRID grid.424922.b, Global Climate Forum e.V. (GCF), ; Neue Promenade 6, 10178 Berlin, Germany
                [5 ]ISNI 0000 0004 1936 7590, GRID grid.12082.39, Department of Economics, , University of Sussex, ; Falmer Campus, Brighton, BN1 9SL UK
                Article
                6645
                10.1038/s41467-018-06645-9
                6191433
                30327459
                9aebe308-6260-48ef-8c83-d6d9fd0acf12
                © The Author(s) 2018

                Open Access This article is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License, which permits use, sharing, adaptation, distribution and reproduction in any medium or format, as long as you give appropriate credit to the original author(s) and the source, provide a link to the Creative Commons license, and indicate if changes were made. The images or other third party material in this article are included in the article’s Creative Commons license, unless indicated otherwise in a credit line to the material. If material is not included in the article’s Creative Commons license and your intended use is not permitted by statutory regulation or exceeds the permitted use, you will need to obtain permission directly from the copyright holder. To view a copy of this license, visit http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/.

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