Coastal zones and climate change
Climate Change Resilience, Island and Ocean Ecosystems
Coastal areas figure among the most vulnerable of all environments to global climate change. Projected impacts from global warming include rising sea levels, stronger tropical cyclones, larger storm surges, increasing sea surface temperatures, andas the oceans absorb more of the carbon dioxide that human activities emit to the atmosphere growing acidification of surface waters. For coastal ecosystems and communities, the repercussions could be considerable, threatening the livelihoods, health, and welfare of millions of people. More frequent and severe storms can inundate low-lying coastal zones, destroying infrastructure and displacing populations. Higher water levels and larger wave surges can contribute to accelerated shoreline erosion and retreat. Mounting sea levels can also exacerbate saltwater intrusion into the rivers and aquifers that furnish freshwater to coastal settlements. Warmer water temperatures and acidifying oceans can degrade the ecology of coral reefs and threaten the artisanal and commercial fisheries that nourish many seaboard communities.