Assessing sea level rise risks in changing coastal environments: a national assessment supporting disasters management and climate change adaptation

16:15 Wednesday 29 May


Room S2


Elisa Furlan (Italy) 1,2; Silvia Torresan (Italy) 1,2; Petra Dalla Pozza (Italy) 2; Diana Derepasko (Italy) 2; Andrea Critto (Italy) 1,2; Melania Michetti (Italy) 1; Federica Zennaro (Italy) 1; Antonio Marcomini (Italy) 1,2; Arthur Essenfelder (Italy) 1

1 - Fondazione Centro-Euro Mediterraneo sui Cambiamenti Climatici (CMCC); 2 - University Ca' Foscari Venice, Department of Environmental Sciences, Informatics & Statistics

Gradually increasing sea levels and extreme events related to changing climate conditions are causing serious threats to coastal areas, affecting both natural and human systems. Moreover, there is growing evidence that socio-economic dynamics (e.g. unplanned urbanization, land use and demographic changes) would increase coastal flood risk in the next decades. Understanding how natural and human-induced drivers concur to determine exposure, vulnerability and risks in coastal areas is of paramount importance for mainstreaming effective climate adaptation and risk reduction policies into coastal zone management.

In the frame of the SAVEMEDCOASTS project (, a Climate change Coastal Risk Index (CCRI) was developed to provide guidance and operative criteria for exposure, vulnerability and risk assessment in Mediterranean coastal areas. The overall aim of the index is to identify, map and prioritize natural and human targets at higher risk from climate-related hazards (sea level rise inundation and storm surge flooding) in vulnerable (flood-prone) coastal areas, providing a knowledge base for national-scale adaptation planning and disaster risk management. The index combines:

  • hazard-prone areas potentially inundated by sea level rise and extreme water levels in future RCP4.5 and RCP8.5 scenarios;
  • exposure, including a classification of ecosystem services supplied by coastal areas (provisioning, regulation and maintenance, cultural) and indicators of economic, social and manufactured capitals;
  • vulnerability, represented by indicators of geomorphic susceptibility to flooding and adaptive capacity.

The CCRI was applied to the Italian peninsula producing a range of spatial risk and vulnerability indicators and statistics including, the estimate of population, infrastructures, urbanized and agricultural areas at risk for different administrative units. The main steps of the methodology and the applicability of results for decision-makers and risk practitioners are here presented and discussed.