Coastal Exposure to Sea-Level Rise under Climate Change Scenarios A Case Study: Southern Coast of Iran along the Sea of Oman

Document Type : Research Paper


1 PhD Candidate, Department of Environment Faculty of Natural Resources, University of Tehran, Iran

2 Professor, Department of Environment, Faculty of Natural Resources, University of Tehran, Iran

3 Professor, Department of Environmental Sciences, Gorgan University, Iran

4 Professor, Department of Reclamation of Arid & Mountain Provinces, University of Tehran, Iran

5 Researcher, Department of Geosciences and Geography, University of Helsinki, Finland

6 Distinguished Professor, Department of Earth and Planetary Sciences, University of California, Santa Cruz, USA


Human-induced climate change has had worldwide impacts on coastal human and natural systems. Sea-level rise (SLR) due to climate change is one of the biggest challenges human civilization is facing in coastal regions today. Over the past 25 years of satellite altimetry, global sea level rose at an average rate of 3.3 mm/yr. (13 in. /century), but this rate is accelerating. Global mean sea-level rise (SLR) will continue during the 21st century, very likely at an increased rate. Climate related SLR has major adverse effects on coastal systems. Assessing the vulnerability of individual coastal areas to future inundation is essential in order to develop adaptive management strategies to cope with the future impacts of sea-level rise. In this vulnerability assessment, exposure of the 292 km coast of southern Iran (Jask County) along the sea of Oman has been studied. To identify areas that would be inundated by future sea-level rise we applied NOAA’s modified bathtub model, and used high estimates of projected global sea-level rise for all RCP scenarios for the year 2100 from the IPCC Fifth Assessment. The results of inundation mapping indicate that under RCP 2.5 scenario (with 0.55 m of SLR) about 299 sq. km. would be inundated. For RCP 4.5 and 6 (with 0.63 m of SLR), about 334 sq. km., and under extreme sea- level rise (RCP 8.5 and 0.82 m SLR) about 449 sq. km. will be inundated. In addition the results indicate although only 1% of the entire coastal area falls into the urban/built category, this includes the most populous city in the county, 2 strategic ports, as well as an airport and industrial zones. Assessing the socio-economic and ecological vulnerability of coastal areas subject to future sea-level rise can assist government officials, managers or decision makers in developing appropriate action plans to adapt to and mitigate sea-level rise impacts. This is particularly timely along the southern coast of Iran where development is in an early stage.


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