The general objective of RISES-AM- is assessing the cross-sectoral and economy-wide impacts and vulnerability of coastal systems at local, regional and global scales, across the full range of representative concentration pathways (RCPs) and shared socio-economic pathways (SSPs). This will be achieved by integrating a series of specific objectives pertaining to four different areas of knowledge:

1) Adaptive management

a) To develop a set of adaptation pathways for the more vulnerable socio-economic andenvironmental coastal systems at regional and global scales, introducing retreat and accommodate adaptation strategies in addition to protection approaches and including local-scale-derived innovative options. b) To assess the synergies and trade-offs between these options under a range of mitigation scenarios considering possible higher growth (eventually negative growth for some developed countries) socio-economic scenarios for the coast (not done before) and socio-economic impacts across scales.

2) Decisions under uncertainty

a) To account for the significant uncertainties in both the “drivers” (physical and socio-economic variables) and coastal system responses (e.g. land loss, ecosystem services, etc.), as well as the capacity and issues raised by adaptation. b) To introduce the risk-vulnerability-hazard methodology into climatic analyses to achieve a higher level of objectivity in the assessments and to reduce the socio-politic lack of confidence associated to subjective evaluations, among them some related to climatic change.

3) Dynamic (transient) analyses

a) To determine what level and timing of climate mitigation is needed to avoid social, ecological and economic adaptation tipping points in coastal areas. b) To investigate the compatibility of local scale assessments and interventions with regional/global analyses, determining the main feedbacks across sectors (physic-ecologic and socio-economic) and how they condition the dynamic approach to adaptation here pursued.

4) Coastal zone sustainability

a) To increase our knowledge about the functioning of the coastal system under climatic variability, developing a methodology to determine impacts at various scales and to expand our battery of coastal “solutions”, outlining novel (“green”) types of interventions more compatible with an energy saving planet.

b) To involve coastal society at all levels to raise awareness about coastal zone vulnerability under future climatic (high end) scenarios, showing the capability of present scientific “tools” to provide advance information on future impacts and risks

c) To apply our approach and results, linking to other climate change assessments and projects funded under this call, generating added value to contribute to EU policies and their adaptation clearing house.


Image06A better quantification of impacts will be attained by extending and combining local and regional/global approaches. Global models developed in previous EU-funded projects (e.g., DINAS-COAST, CLIMSAVE) will be extended to include “accommodate and retreat” adaptation options and will be applied to assess the timing and trade-offs between these options around Europe and globally. Economic impact of substantial sea level rise, among other climatic factors (e.g. storminess) on coastal zones, will be reassessed based on previous work carried out among others by partnership researchers (Nicholls et al., 2011). Combined river/marine drivers will include linking the principles of Integrated River Basin Management and Integrated Coastal Zone Management, to take into account the fluxes (pulses) of water, sediment and nutrients coming from the river basin. These fluvial inputs may be critical for a successful strategy of coastal adaptation (and mitigation) against high-end scenarios, especially in areas strongly depending on watershed processes, such as the deltas and estuaries considered in RISES-AM- (Nittrouer et al. 2012).

We shall also be enlarging the existing global coastal database for impact and vulnerability assessments (Vafeidis et al., 2008), (Dürr et al., 2011), considering impact projections for extreme scenarios, compared to SRES scenarios and even assuming steady drivers, as suggested by the projected possible large greenhouse emission reduction (Pardaens et al., 2011). Local models, also developed in previous EU-funded projects (e.g. FLOODSITE, CONSCIENCE, FIELD_AC) will be extended by including innovative adaptation measures (e.g. Rovira & Ibáñez 2007) such as “raising” land levels and sedimentary volumes as well as energy saving engineering solutions, since the conventional measures (e.g. fully “rigidized” coasts with continuous maintenance needs and a large carbon footprint) have been designed for a period rich in energy and may not be suitable for a future low-carbon society (Day et al. 2009). This will be our starting point to develop “green adaptation” measures from local to larger scales.

The core of RISES-AM will be case study assessments across scales, from global down to local. Here we shall include (e.g. Poussin et al., 2012) semi-structural and non-structural measures working in line with natural processes (e.g. promoting vertical accretion and biological productivity). This will serve to enrich regional scale analyses and to inform a new generation of global assessments incorporating environmentally friendly solutions that are “efficient” under extreme scenarios. The transfer of this knowledge between scales will be based on a nesting set of coastal typologies. The same classification will be applied at local, regional and global scales within a comparative “Cross-scale Assessment Structure” that will be based on a multi-layer model structure plus a catalogue of modelling tools (physical and economic) for the assessments. This will favour an objective and quantitative comparison of impacts across scales.