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Storm surges, sea-level rise and adaptation responses of the German Baltic coast (SEASCAPE)

Basic information

Project duration: 01.11.2016 to 31.10.2019
Institute of Geography & Future Ocean Excellence Cluster Kiel (Details)
Christian-Albrechts-Universität zu Kiel
Christian-Albrechts-Platz 4
24118 Kiel
Cooperation partners:
Prof. Athanasios Vafeidis (Details)
Christian-Albrechts-Universität zu Kiel
Institut für Geografie

Dr. Jochen Hinkel (Details)
Global Climate Forum

Univ.-Prof. Dr.-Ing. Jürgen Jensen (Details)
Universität Siegen
Forschungsinstitut Wasser und Umwelt (fwu)
Paul-Bonatz-Str. 9-11
57076 Siegen
Funder: German Research Foundation (DFG)

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Project description

Extreme sea levels are a major threat for coastal communities and they are expected to become more severe in a warming climate either due to rising mean sea levels or due to potential changes in storminess. Hence it is of utmost importance to adapt coastal zones against increasing sea levels in a changing climate. This is particularly true for densely populated and micro-tidal environments, such as the German Baltic Sea coast, which is very sensitive to changes in sea-levels. Despite this, the dynamics of extreme sea-levels, their socioeconomic impacts and adaptation responses are poorly understood in this region. Furthermore, many communities are not protected against coastal flooding and there is concern that these could be severely affected in the case of extreme storm surges, with climate change-induced sea-level rise adding to this challenge.

Addressing the challenge of adapting to sea-level rise in general and for the Baltic coast in particular requires the close collaboration of a range of natural and social science disciplines and fields, as outlined in the DFG Priority Program - Regional Sea Level Change and Society (SPP 1889), at which this proposal is directed. In particular, geophysical science is needed for understanding regional and local processes which generate extreme sea-level events, geographical science is needed for understanding vulnerabilities, exposure, flood damages and adaptation options and economic and decision sciences are needed for developing effective and robust adaptation pathways.

The project SEASCAPE presents such a collaboration. The project addresses the coastal adaptation challenge for the German Baltic Sea Coats by i) developing robust local scale information on coastal extreme sea levels, ii) applying this information within improved methods for flood risk assessment that consider the full range of protection, accommodation and retreat options, and iii) developing adequate robust decision making methods for deciding under deep uncertainty.

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