Geography Coasts Case Studies


Nile Delta

  • The 240km coast of the Nile Delta are used as holiday beach resorts, coastal defences, general tourism.
  • The Delta is where 95 per cent of the population of Eygpt lives. 
  • This coastline is experiencing retreat on half of it with sediments moving eastwards.
  • There is salt intrusion into the Delta due to sea level rise, coastal flooding will become more frequent, both due to climate change. 
  • As sea level rise and protective offshore bars are eroded, 3.3 per cent of the Delta land area will be lost 
  • A 2015 study classified 32.4 per cent of the Nile delta coasts as highly vunrable, with only 26 per cent as low vunrability 
  • If sea levels rise by 1m by the end of the century and no action is taken, 2 million hectares of fertile land will be lost and at least 6 million people displaced
  • The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) has implemented an Integrated Coastal Zone management (ICZM) project fot the Nile Delta as part of Millenium Development Goal (MDG) 7 - 'Ensure environmental stability'.
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Bangladesh, Sea level rise and storm surges 1

  • Bangladesh is the country most at risk from sea level rise (between 6 and 20 mm a year), and from from storm surges linked to tropical cyclones: 40 per cent of all recorded storm surges have occured in Bangladesh.
  • In 1970 a storm surge killed half a million people, and storm surges have killed about 1.3 million people in total since 1700
  • In past, storm surges have reached 100km inland, and with further sea level this situation will get worse
  • It has been estimated that a 1.5m rise in sea level would flood 22,000km^2 and displace between 15 million and 17 million people. 
  • With a higher sea level, the major rivers of Bangladesh will flow more slowly, ponding back upstream and increasing the risk of river flooding. Wetter environmnets by the sea and rivers will become breeding grounds for disease such as Cholera and Malaria. 
  • The main port of Chittagong would be out of action, and loss of farmland due to direct flooding and salt contamination will reduce the countries GDP, as well as causing shortages of rice and vegetables leading to malnutrition and starvation. 
  • It has been estimated that 40 per cent of Bangladesh's farmland may be lost to the sea if there is a 65cm rise
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Bangladesh, Sea level rise and storm surges 2

  • Around 20 million people already have their drinking water affected by salty water 
  • The valuble coastal ecosystems of the Sundarbans (Mangroves) would also be lost, reducing protection from coastal floods 
  • In 2007 Cyclone Sidr hit southwest Bangladesh as a catagory 4 tropical cyclone (240km/h winds). The strom surge reached 10m in places, and caused $1.7 billion in damage, mostly to housing. the coastal flooding affected up to 3 million households, and 2 million people lost their source of income, most of them among the poorest people in the country.
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North Sea Storm Surges, 1953 and 2013

  • In January 1953 a night time storm surge caused the deaths of 307 people in England and over 2100 in the Netherlands. Sea levels rose by more than 3m and flooding occurred along the east coast. 
  • Seawater flooded lowland areas, topped coastal defences and breached sand dunes
  • Almost 65,000 hectares of farmland and 20,000 homes were flooded ans 32,000 people evacuated
  • Damage was estimated at over £1.2 billion
  • there was no flood warning system, weather forecasts were basic, and modern communications did not exist. 
  • In December 2013 the largest storm surge since 1953 occurred with sea levels higher in some areas - 6.3m in Norfolk.
  • Around 18,000 people were evacuacted
  • 1400 properties flooded
  • Flood defences breached, forecasting gave people time to prepare 
  • Localised flooding caused damage worth £1.7 billion.
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Typhoon Haiyan, Philippines, 2013

  • Typhoon Haiyan was a catagory 5 tropical cyclone with sustained winds recorded of up to 315km per hour. 
  • It struck the Philippines in November 2013, leaving over 6200 dead and 28,000 injured. 
  • On surrounding islands the storm surge measured up to 7m, with airport terminals destroyed
  • The low lying areas on the eastern side of Tacloban city were hardest hit, flooding extended for 1km inland and roughly 90 per cent of the city was destroyed.
  • Although wind speeds were extreme, the major cause of damage and loss of life was the storm surge. I turned the densely populated low lying area into wastelands of mud and debris
  • The World Health Organisation (WHO) classed it as a catagory 3 disaster (the highest level)
  • 14.1 million people were affected 
  • 4.1 million displaced from their homes with only 2.5 per cent of them accommodated in official evacuation centres
  • The government had repaired only 6 of the 43 damaged ports, 213 of 19,600 classrooms and three of the 34 bridges
  • In Tacloban fewer than 100 of 14,500 promised new permenant houses had been built 
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Kiribati and Climate change

  • Situated in the middle of the Pacific Ocean, Kiribati is composed of 33 coral atolls, most of the population live on Tarawa, where the maximum height above sea level is just 3m 
  • Sea level rise and storm surges due to climate change have increased flooding beach erosion 
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Coastal flooding in Australia

  • More than half of Australias coasts are vunrable to erosion and retreat due to sea level rise. Especially in the state of Victoria where 80 per cent of the coastline is at risk.
  • With a 10m rise the risk of coastal flooding will triple 
  • A 1m rise in sea level will expose more than US$162 billion of industrial, commercial, transport and housing infrastructure to coastal flooding and erosion.
  • Groundwater supplies may be affected by salt intrusion 
  • Economic costs increasse greatly with every small increase 
  • Many of Australias famous natural areas, such as the Great Barrier Reef and ecosystems such as mangroves will be trapped between rising sea levels and coastal protection measures, such as higher sea walls.
  • Coral reefs may be unable to grow fast enough to keep up with sea level rise. 
  • Fisheries may be affected
  • The tourism industry, which contributed US$30 billion t Australias GDP in 2013 and emploted 8 per cent of the workforce could be affected.
  • Expenditure of beach nourishment could increase by as much as US$39 million per year
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  • The cost of damage due to sea levle rise are predicted to be the greatest in the Philippines, with losses of $6.5 billion a year
  • The rate of sea level rise is around 5.8mm a year, higher than the global average
  • The country's high level poverty makes the country economically vunerable
  • In the capital, Manila, the natural ecosystems of mangroves have been damaged by pollution, over exploitation which greatly reduces their ability to protect the backshore from sea level rise.
  • Parts of urban Manila, such as Cavite city and Las Pinas would be flooded by 2100 with a 1m sea level rise
  • Up to 2.3 million people could be affected
  • The bay on which the city is located is also used for fishing boats and other vessels; 130 fishermen earn $12 a week
  • Due to high unemployment alternative jobs are difficult to find, with a rise of sea level there will be an estimated welfare loss to the local community of $168,000 per year 
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Environmental refugee actions

The Maldives 

  • After the Indian Ocean tsunami of 2004 the government started to move people from its lowest 200 islands to the few higher ones 
  • The average ground level elevation is 1.5m above sea level
  • Economy is based is based on toursim and fishinng, these jobs are likely to go, encouraging people to move to other countries
  • With a population of 400,000 it may prove difficult to find mainland countries willing to take so many people, but the Maldives government is looking  at the possibility of buying land elsewhere to move to and is in negotiation with Australia, India and Saudi Arabia.

New Zealand 

  • In New Zealand, the Pacific Access Catagory Ballot allows 75 citizens of Kiribati, 75 citizens of Tuvalu and 250 citizens of Tonga to be granted residency each year 

  • Already 3000 of Tuvalu's 10,800 people have moved to New Zealand as part of a labour migration plan, which will eventually allow all of its citizens to move from their eight coral atolls

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Coastal realignment in Essex

  • The UK has adopted a 'Finding Space for Water' philosophy which involves managing coastal retreat.
  • The Essex Wildlife Trust (EWT) and other landowners, especially farmers have discussed giving up land to the sea.
  • EWT purchased the Abbot's Hall estate in Essex, on the Blackwater Estuary, and converted more than 84 hectares of farmland into salt marsh and grassland by breaching old embankments. 
  • This is the largest coastal realignment project in Europe, costing £645,000.
  • It provides sustainble sea defence for the future, because of the 49 ha of additional mudflats and salt marshes
  • Wildlife will benefit 
  • RSBP concerned with the flooding changing bird habitats
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Happisburgh, North Norfolk

  • Failed to qualify for governmnet grants for coastal defences 
  • Soft engineering in operation as managed retreat 
  • By 2055 a further 35 homes could be lost with 250m of land
  • By 2105, the shoreline may recede by 200m, with a loss of 50 homes, caravan site, with property damage totalling £6 million 
  • Tourism decrease
  • House prices are very low and people cannot afford to move elsewhere
  • £1.4 m set aside for 'purchase and lease-back'
  • Owners offered half of the 'non-blighted' value of their homes, giving people the chance to relocate 
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  • Climate change national policy established in 2011, emphasising adaptation measures to reduce vunrability.
  • In 2013 a development policy was launched as part of the country's Vision 2030
  • Namibia identified three catagories of coastal adaptation 
    • Normal Actions
      • Sensible low cost coastal management options 
      • Preventing development in coastal buffer zones 
      • Stabilising and reducing degredation of sand dunes and bars
      • Integrating sea level rise predictions into future planning
    • Additional Actions
      • Managing the risk of sea level rise at moderate cost 
      • Soft engineering
      • Beach nourishment 
      • Establishing laws to enforce coastal-zone management 
    • Expensive Actions 
      • More effective actions for protecting people and property from sea level rise - Hard engineering
      • Constructing sea walls 
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Coastal management in Chittagong, Bangladesh

  • In Chittagong, Bangladesh, a Coastal Climate Resilient Infrastructure Project (2012) supported by the Asian Development Bank (ADB) aims to 'climate-proof' the area. The projects involves 
  • Improving road connections while raising embankments to 60cm above normal flood levels making them resistant to coastal erosion 
  • Creating new market areas with sheds raised on platforms above the expected 2050sea level
  • Constructing, improving or extending 25 tropical cyclone shelters, taking account of sea level rise and higher wind speed s
  • Training in climate resilience and adaptation measures 
  • Positives were alleviating property by generating income opportunities, adapting to climate change and reducing disaster risk and environmental enhancement such as the planting of trees.
  • Negatives were seen as disterbance of people and natural habitats, especially during construction phases, permenant removal of natural vegetation and relocation of some households.
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