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Final Report Summary - COMPASS (Comparative Assessment of Coastal Vulnerability to Sea-Level Rise at Continental Scale)

Vafeidis, Athanasios and Sterr, H and Hinkel, J and Symeonakis, Ilias and Schnack, E and Scalise, A and Fucks, E and Szlafsztein, C and Ferreira de França, C and Morales, M and Avagiannou, T (2013) Final Report Summary - COMPASS (Comparative Assessment of Coastal Vulnerability to Sea-Level Rise at Continental Scale). [Report]

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Abstract

There is concern about the potential impact of sea-level rise on coastal regions around the globe. An EU-funded initiative collaborated with South American partners to assess vulnerability of coastal areas to sea-level rise on a continental scale. Although the effects of sea-level rise are expected to be significant, their magnitude is uncertain due to a lack of information about the level and rate of the rise. Furthermore, it is not known how coastal communities will respond. The 'Comparative assessment of coastal vulnerability to sea-level rise at continental scale' (COMPASS) project designed a tool for estimating the future impacts of rising sea levels. Knowledge on the development and application of the tool, called the Dynamic and interactive vulnerability assessment (DIVA) model, was transferred to countries in South America. A complete overview of the DIVA tool and its component database, models and graphical user interface was given to partners in Argentina, Brazil and Chile. Hands-on training on DIVA was conducted in South America by researchers from European institutions. Further training in Greece and Germany was carried out for seconded researchers. DIVA was used to quantitatively assess the impact of sea-level rise in Europe and South America. The knowledge base of the DIVA tool was expanded using local knowledge and data collected during studies carried out in South America. The information was evaluated to gain a better understanding of the institutional frameworks in which DIVA results could be used to support decision makers. This will help to develop more detailed regional versions of DIVA. Results revealed that large numbers of people in South America can expect flooding, with poorer countries being affected most. Although adaptation measures could reduce the impacts, they would require significant levels of investment and effective adaptation techniques. Preliminary results for Europe indicated that adaptation in the face of sea-level rise would be both beneficial and affordable. Experts from participating institutions conducted an evaluation of the DIVA tool to determine potential limitations and identify areas for further development. An updated version of the DIVA database was produced for South America and work on further development of DIVA algorithms commenced. COMPASS activities have led to the development of strong links and a solid basis for long-term collaboration between the participating European and South American institutions.

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