The rise of sea levels and societal adaptation to climate change

Project lead: Filippo Randelli (University of Florence)

Participating universities: University of Cologne, University of Florence, University of Murcia

General Overview

This project has two main aims:

  1. To map the distribution of sea level rises in each partner country (Germany, Italy and Spain)
  2. To evaluate the impact of these sea level rises and identify possible adaptation strategies

The first task will be carried out by the University of Florence (Unifi) research group. This preliminary mapping will create a clear overview of the salinisation of agricultural fields and coastal areas.

The second step - an onsite evaluation of the effects of sea level rises - will be applied in every partner country. Each local unit will evaluate negative externalities and will develop a scenario for the future, focusing on best adaptation strategies. Together with a desk research activity, several field visits will allow the researchers to gain an overview of the threats and challenges of specific localities (hot spots) with a high value for the regional development (cultural, social and economic values).

Purpose and Significance

Rising sea levels and other forms of climate change have significant consequences for agriculture and food production. The focus of this project is on planning for these impacts and considering the most appropriate responses.

Implementation Method and Timeline

The first Work Package (WP) will be the mapping activity, which will be managed by the University of Florence staff within the Habits Lab, the GIS (Geographical Information Systems) Lab of the Unifi Economic Geographers. It will be concluded by the University of Florence research team within six months.

In the following six months the climate change scenarios on sea level rise will be shared with the other local units in order to evaluate the costs and the possible adaptation strategies.

The evaluation phase will be composed of desk and field activities in order to identify hot spots. This phase will last six months and will be concluded by the end of the project. The field work will lead to the final output: a proposal of adaptation strategies. The different strategies will be presented in the universities participating in the project (Murcia, Cologne and Florence).

Expected Outcomes

The project will lead to the following outcomes:

  1. A map of sea level rises in the partner countries according to different scenarios (low-, medium- and high-risk);
  2. An evaluation of the impact in Germany, Italy and Spain;
  3. A published paper on the topic;

The results of the project will be presented in partner universities and can be shared with other EUniWell partners, in order develop to local adaptation strategies.