Sea-level rise induced change in exposure of low-lying coastal land: implications for coastal conservation strategies

Rémi Thiéblemont, Gonéri le Cozannet, Jérémy Rohmer, Adrien Privat, Romain Guidez, Caterina Negulescu, Xénia Philippenko, Arjen Luijendijk, Floris Calkoen, Robert J. Nicholls

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Coastal erosion and flooding are projected to increase during the 21st century due to sea-level rise (SLR). To prevent adverse impacts of unmanaged coastal development, national organizations can apply a land protection policy, which consists of acquiring coastal land to avoid further development. Yet, these reserved areas remain exposed to flooding and erosion enhanced by SLR. Here, we quantify the exposure of the coastal land heritage portfolio of the French Conservatoire du littoral (Cdl). We find that 30% (~40%) of the Cdl lands owned (projected to be owned) are located below the contemporary highest tide level. Nearly 10% additional surface exposure is projected by 2100 under the high greenhouse gas emissions scenario (SSP5-8.5) and 2150 for the moderate scenario (SSP2-4.5). The increase in exposure is largest along the West Mediterranean coast of France. We also find that Cdl land exposure increases more rapidly for SLR in the range of 0–1 m than for SLR in the range 2–4 m. Thus, near-future uncertainty on SLR has the largest impact on Cdl land exposure evolution and related land acquisition planning. Concerning erosion, we find that nearly 1% of Cdl land could be lost in 2100 if observed historical trends continue. Adding the SLR effect could lead to more than 3% land loss. Our study confirms previous findings that Cdl needs to consider land losses due to SLR in its land acquisition strategy and start acquiring land farther from the coast.
Original languageEnglish
Article number8
JournalAnthropocene Coasts
Publication statusPublished - 27 Feb 2024

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