Practical tools for quantitative analysis of coastal vulnerability and sea level rise impacts—application in a Caribbean island and assessment of the 1.5 °C threshold

The quantitative analysis of hurricane impacts on coastal development in the Caribbean is surprisingly infrequent and many tools to assess physical vulnerability to sea level rise (SLR) are insufficient to evaluate risk in coastal areas exposed to wave attack during extreme events. This paper proposes a practical methodology to quantify coastal hazards and evaluate SLR impact scenarios in coastal areas, providing quantitative input for coastal vulnerability analysis. We illustrate the implementation of the proposed methodology with results from a site-specific analysis. We quantify how storm wave impacts penetrate farther inland and reach higher elevations for increasing SLR conditions. We also show that the increase in elevation of storm wave impacts is more than the nominal increase in mean sea level, and that elevation increase may be on the order of up to twice the nominal SLR. By developing design parameters for multiple scenarios, as opposed to the determination of a single SLR value for design established by consensus, this approach generates information that we argue encourages resilient design and embedding future adaptation in coastal design. We discuss how government planners and regulators, as well as real estate developers, lenders, and investors, can improve coastal planning and resilient design of coastal projects by using this approach.

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