Introduction

In this module, we will describe the main impacts of climate change on the coastal environment. First, we will understand the physical principles underlying the rise in sea level and the evolution of extreme weather events, ocean warming and acidification and the changing of winter conditions the major impacts of climate change on the coast. We will then analyse the coastal zone as the exposed environment, and the physical impacts which are observable on it, most of all coastal erosion. We will discuss the impact on tourism and agriculture. More impacts will be discussed in module 3 and in the case studies in module 4. Finally, we will describe the use of a systems dynamics representation of the coastal environment and some retroactions present in it.

Learning objectives

At the end of this module, you will be able to:

  • Understand the physical principles of sea level rise;
  • Understand the evolution of extreme weather events as a result of climate change;
  • Describe the impacts of climate change on the coastal environment;
  • Understand the role of the coastal zone as an exposed environment on the observed impacts;
  • Describe the impacts of climate change on coastal tourism and agriculture;
  • Adopt a systems perspective and explain interactions, retroactions and synergies between climate change and human behaviour.