About this Research Topic
Disaster Risk Reduction (DRR) measures will become increasingly important on coral reef-lined coasts to manage flood risk. Early Warning Systems (EWS) are powerful DRR tools, which allow local authorities to issue warnings, coordinate preparedness and evacuation measures, and reduce risk to life and assets. Short-term forecasts (typically up to 7 days) of extreme high sea level events produced by an EWS are primarily dependent on the atmospheric and ocean dynamics such as storm waves and seasonal and interannual variability in regional and local sea level. Although these extreme events can cause damage to both natural and built infrastructure, frequent marine flooding will also cause salt-water contamination of the fresh water lenses, leaving them unusable for human consumption and/or agriculture. With increasing frequency and severity of such extreme events predicted in the coming decades, particularly along low-latitude coastlines, other forms of adaptation will be required to support island communities. Building resilience into natural, built, and socio-economic environments requires adequate time for planning and implementation. Furthermore, for coasts where adaptation is not feasible, communities will be forced to migrate landward or relocate entirely, likely leading to significant cultural and societal impacts. Long-term projections of future changes are therefore key to coastal adaptation and need to account for changes in coral reef biogeomorphology and anthropogenic interventions, including engineering structures, along with trends in climate, waves, and sea level. Thus, the development of accurate EWS and long-term modeling capabilities are important for the current and future management of flood risk on coral reef-lined coasts.
To advance our understanding and skill at predicting flooding on coral reef-lined coasts, a concerted effort from a number of disciplines, including climatology, oceanography, geology, and ecology, is required. This special issue focuses on advancements in understanding and predicting local sea levels, offshore wave climates, wave transformation and water levels across reefs, and linkages between coral reefs and island dynamics. Summaries of current local or regional-scale studies, including modeling exercises, are encouraged, especially if they evaluate responses to changes in sea level or the impact on infrastructure, habitats, agriculture, freshwater availability, etc.
Keywords: coral reef, coasts, flooding, sea level, waves
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