COASTRISK: Assessing future risks faced by assets in global coastal areas, to determine viable adaptation investments under extreme sea level rise scenarios

COASTRISK: Assessing future risks faced by assets in global coastal areas, to determine viable adaptation investments under extreme sea level rise scenarios

The general goals of this project are to improve our knowledge and understanding of possible extreme sea level rise scenarios in the 21st Century, to use this knowledge to quantify the impact of global flood risks on assets in coastal areas, and to determine economically feasible adaptation investments to reduce risk.

Duration of the project: 2017-2021 (currently underway)

Body

The COASTRISK project will be carried out in four “risk packages” – the first two packages will be conducted by one postdoctoral researcher in the Department of Earth Sciences at VU University Amsterdam (VUA), under the supervision of Professor Renssen and Dr. Roche. The third and fourth packages will be conducted by another postdoctoral researcher in the Department of Water and Climate Risk at VUA, under the supervision of Professor Aerts and Dr. Ward. 

More specific objectives:

  • To assess the climatic conditions consistent with past rapid sea level rise, including the uncertainties involved
  • To construct a range of rapid sea level rise scenarios applicable to the near future 
  • To provide a spatial analysis of global flood risk based on these sea level rise scenarios 
  • To quantify the tipping points in climate adaptation based on this risk assessment

Fields of research / technical cooperation

  • Paleoclimatic data analysis 
  • Numerical climate modelling 
  • Flood risk modelling 
  • Economic modelling

The COASTRISK project is split into four work packages:

  • Work package 1: Simulations of Last Interglacial (LIG) sea level rise using a fully coupled earth system model
  • Work package 2: Modelling future sea level rise: Is the LIG an analogy for the future?
  • Work package 3: Flood Hazard: Global Storm Surge modelling
  • Work Package 4: Risk Assessment and Adaptation Tipping points

COASTRISK will further enhance risk assessment knowledge in the area of natural hazard management, particularly flood risk in coastal zones. This is a complex scientific field since there are major uncertainties due to (1) long-term changes such as sea level rise; and (2) extremes such as storm surge for which little empirical data is available. COASTRISK is a unique, multi-disciplinary project in which (paleo-)climate experts cooperate with risk assessment and disaster risk reduction scientists in a modelling approach. These models can help to overcome the aforementioned challenges, thereby helping the risk community to better understand the impact on risk of extreme sea level rise, and the impacts of low probability storm surges.