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Journal Article

Understanding the Drivers of Coastal Flood Exposure and Risk From 1860 to 2100


Lincke,  Daniel
External Organizations;

Hinkel,  Jochen
External Organizations;


Mengel,  Matthias
Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research;

Nicholls,  Robert J.
External Organizations;

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Lincke, D., Hinkel, J., Mengel, M., Nicholls, R. J. (2022): Understanding the Drivers of Coastal Flood Exposure and Risk From 1860 to 2100. - Earth's Future, 10, 12, e2021EF002584.

Cite as: https://publications.pik-potsdam.de/pubman/item/item_27771
Global coastal flood exposure (population and assets) has been growing since the beginning of the industrial age and is likely to continue to grow through 21st century. Three main drivers are responsible: (a) climate-related mean sea-level change, (b) vertical land movement contributing to relative sea-level rise, and (c) socio-economic development. This paper attributes growing coastal exposure and flood risk from 1860 to 2100 to these three drivers. For historic flood exposure (1860?2005) we find that the roughly six-fold increase in population exposure and 53-fold increase in asset exposure are almost completely explained by socio-economic development (>97% for population and >99% for assets). For future exposure (2005?2100), assuming a middle-of-the-road regionalized socio-economic scenario (SSP2) without coastal migration and sea-level rise according to RCP2.6 and RCP6.0, climate-change induced sea-level rise will become the most important driver for the growth in population exposure, while growth in asset exposure will still be mainly determined by socio-economic development.