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Flexible Adaptation Strategies to Coastal Flooding Enhanced by Climate Change in Macaronesia Coastal Urban Areas

Author(s): Javier Lopez Lara; Alberto Fernandez-Perez; David Lucio; Adela Machado; Pedro Luis Rodriguez; Raquel De La Cruz Modino; Gustavo Herrera; Laura Comes; Inigo Losada; Antonio Tomas

Linked Author(s): David Lucio

Keywords: Adaptation Planning; Risk assessment; Coastal Flooding; Climate variability; Climate Change


Coastal areas are particularly vulnerable to climate change due to their exposure to mean sea-level rise and an intensification in the frequency and intensity of extreme events. Moreover, it is expected that these effects will be increased according to the latest climate change projections (AR6, IPCC (2021)). Among the most vulnerable areas in Europe are the coastal urban areas of the Macaronesia islands territories. In fact, there are several examples all along the Macaronesia islands where the effect of extreme weather events has produced severe coastal flooding with dramatic effects. Coastal urban areas in Macaronesia islands are characterized as settlements with a high tourist pressure, while their urban typology, often influenced by their history, has a high degree of confinement in the territory, which hampers their expansion and growth and, consequently their adaptation to climate change impacts. The use of conventional techniques as adaptation strategies that significantly or entirely reduce the risk of coastal flooding does not seem to be an appropriate solution in this case due to the characteristics of the waterfronts. On the one hand, the high degree of confinement of urban settlements within the territory and, on the other hand, the orography, make conventional adaptation options unfeasible to be implement due to the high degree of investment needed. Within the scope of sustainable development and at the same time with the aim of increasing resilience in these areas, the development of a new methodological framework for implementing risk reduction and adaptation measures in coastal flood-prone areas is proposed. This is planned to be agreed with public participation programs of information to the residents and awareness for a complete involvement of the different agents involved in the management and use of urban coastal areas (local and regional), helping to define the acceptable levels of flood risk used as the reference for the adaptation measures design. The main premise is that coastal flooding cannot be fully prevented and that the coastal island areas of Macaronesia need to learn to coexist with flooding events, but through adaptation programs and local awareness that increase the resilience of the coastal urban assets. The work will present the application of this methodology in the coastal front in Garachico municipality. A wave climate analysis covering historical events and future climate change scenarios will be presented within the scope of a risk reduction analysis, based on the IPCC framework, for the different adaptation measures designed for the municipality.


Year: 2022

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