Mediterranean UNESCO World Heritage at risk from coastal flooding and erosion due to sea-level rise

Lena Reimann*, Athanasios T. Vafeidis, Sally Brown, Jochen Hinkel, Richard S.J. Tol

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to JournalArticleAcademicpeer-review

Abstract

UNESCO World Heritage sites (WHS) located in coastal areas are increasingly at risk from coastal hazards due to sea-level rise. In this study, we assess Mediterranean cultural WHS at risk from coastal flooding and erosion under four sea-level rise scenarios until 2100. Based on the analysis of spatially explicit WHS data, we develop an index-based approach that allows for ranking WHS at risk from both coastal hazards. Here we show that of 49 cultural WHS located in low-lying coastal areas of the Mediterranean, 37 are at risk from a 100-year flood and 42 from coastal erosion, already today. Until 2100, flood risk may increase by 50% and erosion risk by 13% across the region, with considerably higher increases at individual WHS. Our results provide a first-order assessment of where adaptation is most urgently needed and can support policymakers in steering local-scale research to devise suitable adaptation strategies for each WHS.

Original languageEnglish
Article number4161
JournalNature Communications
Volume9
Issue number1
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Dec 2018

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