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Advancing Adaptation Measures for Fringing mangrove-Mudflat Coastlines under Climate Change Impacts: Sea level Rise & Storms

  • 1 October, 2017
  • IHE Delft, Coastal & Urban Risk & Resilience
  • Prof.dr.ir. J.A. Roelvink
  • Dr. M. van der Wegen

Resilience, as defined by the US Army Corps of Engineers and applied within the context of the proposed research, describes the ability of the vegetated-mudflat foreshore to prepare for, resist, recover and adapt to consistently achieve functional performance under the stress of disturbances through time. Coastal vulnerability is amplified by climate change effects such as sea level rise and increases in unpredicted extreme events. As such, with anticipated levels of sea level rise by 2100 exceeding 2.0m and increased frequency in storm events, coastal engineers are forced to design adaptive and flexible solutions to protect the coast. This has taken the form of mudflat systems coupled by mangroves and structural or non-structural measures. In low-lying coastal areas, often these coastal safety measures are assessed in separation, however literature has shown that these solutions on their own will not provide long term resilience against the anticipated projections of sea level rise and storm surges. To determine this, our research will apply a combination of process based modelling techniques to mangrove-mudflat systems: below sea level, inherently occupied by highly dynamic mudflats with mangrove fringes, and are impacted by high erosion rates, frequent storms and vulnerable to sea level rise.
Therefore, this research aims to first quantify the ecosystem services provided by the mangrove systems under sea level rise and storms, and then explore the risk reduction gained through the use of hybrid adaptation measures.
The proposed research, coupling the Delft3D-FM software package, XBeach with the dynamic growth of the vegetation to assess the system’s natural tendency to resist increasing decay stresses with sea level rise and storms of varying intensities. After which, its ability to adapt and recover its equilibrium density and functionality as the high water level moves landward and shear stresses increase with the removal of the vegetation will be evaluated across several scenarios. Finally, the research will seek to advance vulnerability assessment tools by developing and validating a biophysical vulnerability indicator for to asses to resilience of hybrid protection measures against storm surges and sea level rise.

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