A global analysis of erosion of sandy beaches and sea-level rise: An application of DIVA

TitleA global analysis of erosion of sandy beaches and sea-level rise: An application of DIVA
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2013
AuthorsGanopolski, A., L. McFadden, R. J. T. Klein, A. Vafeidis, J. Hinkel, R. J. Nicholls, R. S. J. Tol, Z. Wang, J. Hamilton, and G. Boot
Journal TitleGlobal and Planetary Change
Start Page150
KeywordsBeach nourishment, Climate adaptation, Climate impacts, erosion, Sandy beaches, tourism

This paper presents a first assessment of the global effects of climate-induced sea-level rise on the erosion of sandy beaches, and its consequent impacts in the form of land loss and forced migration of people. We consider direct erosion on open sandy coasts and indirect erosion near selected tidal inlets and estuaries, using six global mean sea-level scenarios (in the range of 0.2-0.8m) and six SRES socio-economic development scenarios for the 21st century. Impacts are assessed both without and with adaptation in the form of shore and beach nourishment, based on cost-benefit analysis that includes the benefits of maintaining sandy beaches for tourism. Without nourishment, global land loss would amount to about 6000-17,000km2 during the 21st century, leading to 1.6-5.3million people being forced to migrate and migration costs of US$ 300-1000billion (not discounted). Optimal beach and shore nourishment would cost about US$ 65-220billion (not discounted) during the 21st century and would reduce land loss by 8-14%, forced migration by 56-68% and the cost of forced migration by 77-84% (not discounted). The global share of erodible coast that is nourished increases from about 4% in 2000 to 18-33% in 2100, with beach nourishment being 3-4 times more frequent than shore nourishment, reflecting the importance of tourism benefits. In absolute terms, with or without nourishment, large countries with long shorelines appear to have the largest costs, but in relative terms, small island states appear most impacted by erosion. Considerable uncertainty remains due to the limited availability of basic coastal geomorphological data and models on a global scale. Future work should also further explore the effects of beach tourism, including considering sub-national distributions of beach tourists. © 2013 Elsevier B.V.

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Cities and Coasts